Sublime (2007)

Sublime follows George Grieves as he checks into the Mt. Abaddon Hospital for a routine colonoscopy but wakes up with stitches having been the victim of an administrative error and instead received a superfluous sympathectomy; an invasive procedure that involves snipping a nerve in order to cure sweaty palms. He is surrounded by an array of bizarre characters including the sultry but naïve nurse Zoe, the mysterious orderly Mandingo (who references the 1975 movie of the same name) and the inept Dr. Shirazzi. Nothing seems to make sense and when his condition worsens drastically and events take a turn for the outright crazy, George begins to question his sanity and the credibility of the hospital and its’ workers.

At least half of the movie is told through flashbacks. We are, in turns, celebrating George’s 40th birthday with him, the night before his hospital admission and also suffering through the hellish present alongside him too. From the garishly colourful opening dream sequence, Sublime is quite a submersive film, in that the audience is able to feel every injustice performed on George in the hospital construct and every elative moment that he spent with his close family and friends as well. It jumps about with no real linear narrative but surprisingly this isn’t detrimental to the overall feel or pace.

Having only ever seen Tom Cavanagh (TV’s Ed) in comedy fare, you could safely colour me sceptical but he delves deeply into the imagined psyche of his victimised protagonist and succeeds in coming out the other end with a well-rounded, if thoroughly flawed character. He’s also helped along by a cast of familiar faces (although their names will almost certainly escape most casual cinephiles) that include Paget Brewster, Kyle Gallner, Kathleen York and David Clayton Rogers.

Sublime is a film of two halves, it is part psychological thriller and part gross-out horror, the two sides of which don’t always mesh so well. Particular mention has to go to one of the climactic scenes which is both wincingly grotesque and horrifyingly vivid but its inclusion feels almost exclusively as though it is supposed to appeal to the horror crowd that might have been dissuaded by the psychological thriller tag.

Sublime is a stylish and thought provoking, but sometimes meandering and ultimately bleak, piece of horror cinema that might leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth. It’s worth giving up just shy of two hours to invest in watching it but if you’re already depressed or have an existing fear of hospitals it might be one to miss.

One line, uttered by George’s teenaged son best sums up Sublime; “Maybe if you spend your life worrying, then the only way your life will have meaning is if what your fear becomes real.” Ain’t that the truth.

Rating: ★★★★★★½☆☆☆

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.