Scientists Lillian Reynolds (Louise Fletcher at her chain smoking best) and Michael Brace (Christopher Walken
holding down his mad dog thing) develop a method for recording lived experience on holographic tape which can be then
played back directly inside someone else?s head. Going far beyond the modest ambitions of a computer generated virtual
reality environment, the process produces the effect of total immersion in another?s thoughts, feelings and full
sensory experiences. The potential and intended uses are all very commendable ? for the first time, people would have
the opportunity to really be able to understand each other?s points of view and ways of seeing the world. However, in
keeping with the history of representational technologies, someone very quickly records the experience of having sex,
and someone else works out how to play it back to themselves on permanent loop. And in a scene guaranteed to make you
all feel good about your own rubbish parenting; Christopher Walken?s son manages to plug himself into a military
recording of what it?s like to be horribly tortured.
Dr. Reynolds is such a dedicated workaholic that half way through the movie she manages to hook herself up to the
recording device while suffering from a fatal heart-attack. Brace then becomes obsessed with experiencing the death
tape for himself, on the premise that it will let him experience some kind of universal truth about what happens when
you die. I don?t want to give away the ending, but one of the writers (Bruce Rubin) was responsible for the equally
gushy and literally Christian finish to the otherwise great Jacobs Ladder and the entirely schmaltzy Ghost.