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Sci-fi is such a great genre; it's loaded with forward-thinking folks pushing the bounds of science and morality in order to create better lives for people. It's also loaded with simple mistakes ("Whooops! Life will find a way."), catastrophic failures (just ask Jeff Goldblum), evil plots (Weyland Corp.), and unadvised stumbling into god territory (Paging Dr. Frankenstein!)

As humans, we have such mixed feelings about medicine and science that any time either comes into play in sci-fi we'll have elements of "HEY! We're doing this for the betterment of human kind!" butting up against "We're furthering our hateful subplots through the targeted, well-funded use of science."

Enter Extracted; many years too late to be unique but, not bad at being what it is.

Here's how it goes

A scientist creates the technology to "go inside" someone else's memories.
Even if this doesn't sound familiar to you, it should at least sound like a really bad idea.

He thinks he'll use this AMAZING technology as a psychotherapy aid - he's had some level of success and he KNOWS this is a winning idea that everyone will embrace... if only he could get the funding to continue his research! You will not be surprised to learn that someone is willing to fund him ("someone" = "the government and their nefarious plans to forcibly extract confessions from felons"). He doesn't REALLY like this plan BUT hey, it's money and he needs it so... why not? The mysterious government investor requires a demonstration and so they produce a murderer (who claims he's innocent) and the scientist agrees to prance around in the killer's memories.


Right about now you're thinking, "I saw this movie. It was called The Cell and it featured J-Lo getting high in her yoga pants." And you'd be sort of right about that. The Cell benefitted from an absolutely visionary director. Extracted? Not so much.

So our scientist grudgingly enters the killer's memories and putzes around for a while, uncovers some stuff, the investors are suitably impressed, and then it's time to go home. Lo and behold, the scientist can't get out of the killer's head. Ruh-roh! He appears to be in a coma BUT, we (the audience) know that he's alive and well, trapped in the killer's mind.

Magically, after 4 years of being in there, unable to effect anything, simply watching the memories go by, the scientist is SUDDENLY able to communicate with the killer. Out of nowhere. Just, POOF! Together, they launch into this mission of self-discovery and oh yeah - get me the fuck out of here and back into my own body please so I can be with my wife (who unrealistically) hasn't moved on yet. During this adventure the scientist realizes that EVERYTHING HE THOUGHT was wrong!

Dun Dun Duuuuuuuuun.

This subplot fills the middle third or so of the movie.

Which brings us to the end of the movie where the killer is sort of redeemed and the scientist is seemingly returned to his body. The director liberally applied the soft focus, faint BUT DRAMATIC and sentimental score, and dreamlike cuts to help "confuse us" as to whether or not the scientist was ACTUALLY returned to his body.

Yes. Yes. We all love a movie that makes us question reality and the nature of life itself. Thanks. Thanks for bringing nothing new to the table. Check please! I'm done.

I'm surprised that Julianne Moore wasn't in this movie - it seems like the kind of generic, acceptably acted, tolerably written movie I keep running into her in. Perhaps she was too busy on As The World Turns to take on such a challenging role.

On the other, less hateful hand, I will say this: Extracted seems unfairly underrated and disproportionately disliked. I have seen way worse movies in my many hours of watching crap. (Satan's Little Helper comes to mind). I've certainly hated other movies more than this one.

Here's a whacky idea for ya, watch the Extracted trailer below and decide for yourself if you want to wade through this mediocre entry into the sci-fi genre:


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