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Extraordinary Measures

Extraordinary Measures

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

HARRISON Ford and Brendan Fraser bring some much-needed star power to Tom Vaughan’s otherwise formulaic medical drama that’s inspired by a true story.

The duo play a father and doctor who team up to find a cure for a life-threatening disease, fighting big money pharmaceutical corporations in the process and providing hope where previously there was none for a number of parents.

The condition in question is Pompe disease, a rare genetic disorder related to muscular dystrophy that has afflicted two of father John Crowley’s children.

Desperate to find a miracle before time runs out, he enlists the help of an unconventional doctor (Ford) who may have stumbled upon a cure, but whose research has been largely overlooked.

Together, they provide a formidable partnership even though their relationship is often defined by its volatility.

To be fair to Vaughan’s film, it has a lot going for it in spite of its TV movie quality feel.

Fraser is utterly convincing as the dedicated father who is forced to make a number of tough decisions for the benefits of his kids, while there’s sterling support from Jared Harris, as a no-nonsense business exec who symbolises the profit before care motives of several corporations.

Ford’s gruff eccentric is less convincing, however, especially since he represents a composite of the many people Crowley dealt with in his battle to beat the clock – and is therefore more of a Hollywood ‘feelgood’ creation than anyone real.

Vaughan’s direction, meanwhile, sometimes meanders and pays a little too much attention to the main protagonists’ odd-couple relationship at the expense of some of the more intriguing corporate wrangling.

That said, he also avoids the temptation to over-sentimentalise, treating the heartbreak of the situation with the sensitivity it warrants and tugging at viewers’ heart-strings in a justifiable way.

The overall result is a film that generally engages by virtue of some nice performances and the real-life triumph over adversity that underpins it.

Certificate: PG
Running time: 105mins
UK DVD Release: June 21, 2010