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'Altered States (1980)' Movie Review: Is there a god?

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Altered States


It is the late 1960's and everyone is trying to find alternate lives and experiences through hallucinogens. Graduate student Eddie Jessup (William Hurt) thinks he has found a way to touch on these scenes through a isolation chamber. Eddie is not a believer in God but in the chamber he feels he touched the hand of God or at least he thinks he has. Years go by and Eddie is now a respected Professor at Harvard University. He is married and settled down. He is also very restless and bored. He decides to return to the chamber and this time he wants to use drugs to enhance the experience. His wife Emily (Blair Brown) and colleagues Arthur Rosenburg (Bob Balaban) and Mason Parrish (Charles Haid) think he has gone off the deep end.

They are not in favor of the chamber being used and they questioning Eddie's motives. Why risk everything you have worked for to screw it all up now.

Eddie travels to area who have been doing hallucinogenic drugs for ages and brings them back to the chamber to be used. Problem is Eddie really doesn't know the full power of the drugs and the chamber mixed and and to what conclusions he may find.

At first, Eddie is able to make small breaks into another reality. He feels he is going back to beginning of man. His body he feels is changing as if he was primordial man eating on animal, raw animal. Now the blood on his mouth and face might give everybody that belief but does he revert back to the beginning of man, only you will know if you watch the rest of the movie.

This movie came at a time when movies were being made to question our existence and where we come from. The box was good to this film and it was a good stepping stone for its main characters.

Director Ken Russell brought us a film that in its own right should have been a load of crap but that was not the case. Even to this day it is still an enjoyable film to watch. So take the time and let your imagination wander and see for yourself if you can handle traveling to an Altered State. Enjoy.


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