Inspired by an incredible true story, the movie portrays one father's desperate quest to save his children from succumbing to a rare life-threatening genetic disorder. Working-class father John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) is finally on the fast track to corporate success when his two young children, Megan and Patrick, are diagnosed with Pompe disease -- a condition that prevents the body from breaking down sugar. In time, it disables the heart and the muscles, ultimately resulting in death. With the support of his wife, Aileen (Keri Russell), John ditches his career and teams with unconventional specialist Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford) to found a bio-tech company and develop a cure in time to save the lives of Megan and Patrick. As Dr. Stonehill works tirelessly to prove the theories that made him the black sheep of the medical community, a powerful bond is forged between the two unlikely allies. Still, their greatest struggle is yet to come.
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At The Movies
Extraordinary Measures (PG) * * * *
By ROBERT WALDMAN
People with children will do anything and everything to protect them. One father goes that extra mile to make a difference in Extraordinary Measures, an eventful film from Alliance Films now springing to life at Tinseltown (on Pender, free parking), Empire Studio 12, Colossus and Famous Players Theatres around B.C.
Beware films that are based (or inspired) on real events. Liberties can be taken by filmmakers out to sensationalize serious subject matter. Director Tom Vaughan (What Happens In Vegas) leaves the comedy behind and hones in on the human side in this telling story of a man out to make a difference.
Pride and appearances can be deceiving. On the outside John Crowley seems to have all the trappings of success. Brendan Fraser (The Mummy) stands tall as this corporate executive married with three lovely children. Oh, but one “small” matter is gnawing away at John and his wife. Both have one healthy child but two are inflicted with a disease called Pompe. No known cure exists for the condition and with time running out John is at his wit’s end.
Not one to give up soon problems at work developfor this caring dad and even his stand by your man wife Aileen feels the pressure. Keri Russell (Mission Impossible III) embodies all the spirit of a mother and wife trying to remain calm as her husband decides to take the bull by the horns and help his kids stave off death.
Rumours abound on cures for all sorts of ailments. Being smart and studious John searches all the right leads and comes up with a scientist in Nebraska who offers some hope. Rough around the edges Robert Stonehill leads a rather cloistered life and is not too keen on helping the Crowleys. Aging superstar Harrison Ford (Raiders of the Last Ark) shows he’s still got what it takes and is delightfully charming as the stubborn, arrogant straight-talking Stonehill. Consider him to be the ultimate stonewalling agent as he reluctantly agrees to try to find a cure for this perilous disease.
Numerous films about sick people have been done over the years with a younger Denzel Washington coming to mind in the dramatic John Q. Both Fraser and Ford work well off one another. Even more stunning is the gritty atmosphere revealed of the pharmaceutical industry. Bad things can in fact go on behind closed doors out of public (and shareholder’s) view. How drugs are given the green light for research is well documented and all the players out to carve their own niche in this often closed, impenetrable world is truly eye-opening.
Tension develops early and the sense of urgency is always on your minds as you can’t help but get caught up in the plight of two parents and a renegade scientist who somehow lock horns against the establishment in a true David versus Goliath struggle.
Eyes may get wet when you see the doom and gloom presented to the parents at virtually every turn. Steps to eradicate a disease and save a family take great strength and perseverance. Brendan Fraser, in particular, does not overplay or underplay his hand showing just the right composure and compulsion to believe that this man would do whatever it takes to save a child.
Heartbreaking at times and heartwarming, Extraordinary Measures is a surprisingly good treatment of a real event that happened and a good tearjerker any time of year.
Read more reviews by Robert at www.moviereviewssite.com