Given what we now know about Rock Hudson's personal life, it would be easy to read a great deal into his performance in Seconds; his work as a tortured man living a lie that he willingly allowed others to create for him may well be the best and most deeply felt acting of his career. But to view Seconds as a film about Rock Hudson is to underrate and misinterpret one of the most original thrillers of the 1960s. Just as America's obsession with youth culture was about to shift into overdrive, Seconds offered a potent warning about the desire to be young at all costs, and few movies have ever offered a more interesting (and more literal) spin on the notion that "You can't run away from yourself." Director John Frankenheimer brings a brooding and kinetic tension to the proceedings that seems ahead of its time for 1966 (and still feels potent today), while James Wong Howe's masterful camerawork is rich and crisply detailed when it needs to be, and superbly disorienting when the story is at its most bizarre. In the decade in which angst finally made its way to the surface of American popular culture, few other movies were as full of dread as Seconds, which looked into the dark and frightening heart of human identity and the American mindset and found it fascinating and bleakly funny.
by Mark Deming review