Despite its occasional lapses into silly self-consciousness, Flatliners is one of the most intriguing and well-constructed supernatural thrillers of the 1990s. A group of brilliant medical students decide to literally play with life and death. They put themselves in suspended animation, electronically inducing a near-deathlike state and then pulling out of it at the last possible moment. Things get hairy when one of the students (Kiefer Sutherland) becomes obsessed with the notion of really dying, the better to experience the Afterlife before being revived--if he can be revived. In her first dramatic starring role (playing a sensitive young lady on a misguided guilt trip), Julia Roberts is very, very good--completely bereft of movie-star mannerisms. Audiences flocked to see Flatliners back in 1990 due to the highly publicized off-screen romance between Roberts and Sutherland. Oh, yes: Kevin Bacon and William Baldwin are in the picture, too.
by Hal Erickson synopsis