Doctors are superheroes, truly. They do things that absolutely boggle my mind, making decisions in the process that stagger when contemplated. So, any film that gets into the head of a doctor is interesting in my book. So, The God Committee has a hell of a premise, one that makes you incredibly curious to see more. That’s a definite feather in its cap. Well, even if it doesn’t quite live up to its baity pitch, the movie is still good enough to warrant a thumbs up. Good acting, effective writing, and a desire to be thought-provoking helps to put it over the top.
The God Committee is a melodrama, to be sure. It never shies away from that. At the same time, it doesn’t feel the need to go the soap opera route with things, and that’s a plus. You need at least somewhat of a soft touch here, and that’s the case. If it never becomes a great flick, it’s a good enough one, through and through.
The film centers on a decision needing to be made by an organ donor committee. When a donor heart arrives at a New York hospital without warning, the committee must convene for a legitimately life or death decision. They have an hour to figure out which of three candidates gets the heart. Making this choice is a group that includes the cynical heart surgeon Boxer (Kelsey Grammer), the idealistic Jordan (Julia Stiles), who is having an affair with Boxer, bureaucrat Gilroy (Janeane Garofalo), and lawyer turned man of the cloth Father Dunbar (Colman Domingo). All three of the candidates are imperfect, with various pros and cons to weigh.
As they decide who gets the heart, the narrative also flashes forward about a half decade. There, Boxer is racing against his own failing heart to revolutionize the industry. The choice made that fateful day weighs on all of the characters in this flash-forward. After all, they were literally putting a price and value on a human life. The implied subtext here asks who you’d pick, and we all might wind up with different answers.
Up and down the line, this is a really good cast. They’re legitimately what makes this film worth seeing. Kelsey Grammer and Julia Stiles are the leads, and each hasn’t had this juicy a role in some time. Grammer lets you see the logical side of the coin, while Stiles is more the heart of the matter. As showcases for them, The God Committee is on very solid ground. Colman Domingo and Janeane Garofalo have less to do, but it’s always nice to see them onscreen. The supporting players include Dan Hedaya, Peter Kim, and more.
Writer/director Austin Stark pens a mature drama, even if his direction is decidedly less inspired. Stark allows the movie to have shades of grey, which keeps things from being rote. A more interesting directorial palate would have elevated this flick, for sure, but the writing and the cast save the day. I’ll be interested to see what Stark does next, though, that’s for sure.
The God Committee is just worthy of a recommendation. If you’re starved for adult drama, this will be even more appealing. Likewise if you’re a fan of someone in the cast. Mostly, this is a decent film that does enough with an intriguing premise to make it worth your time. After having its Tribeca Film Festival debut delayed by a year, the movie finally comes to you all. While it wasn’t something to be on pins and needles waiting for, it’s worth checking out.