The concept of this film is pretty simple, two men getting on in years but still sprightly and full of fight are diagnosed with cancer. Nicholson plays a ballsy entrepreneur who among many things owns a hospital. In a money saving regulation he enforces the rule ‘two patients to a room, no exceptions’. After being diagnosed with a progressive cancer he has literally made his bed and now he has to lie in it. He finds himself laid up alongside family man Carter (Freeman) who has also been diagnosed with a similar fate.
The film here runs at a nice pace. Allowing the two highly capable actors to explore and familiarise the audience with each other as they whittle away the long lonely and painful hours chatting over life and their very different outlooks on it.
After making it through their respective sessions of chemotherapy they are served their life sentences. Shell shocked they are faced with the choice; return to their lives and await death, or live the time they have left to the maximum. Fulfilling all the whims of their fancies that they have sacrificed in the realities of life.
The biggest draw of this film for me was the performances by Freeman and Nicholson. Without them the film would have been an easy viewing Sunday afternoon flick. Their characters spark a real chemistry together and their lines glance off one another beautifully. Nicholson with his devilish grin, cynical and guns-a-blazing attitude finds his match in the calm self assured majestic nature of Freeman’s character.
The film obviously reflects on life, death and the meaning within it, but manages to avoid the expected clichés that might have come with it. The film throughout stays sensitive and touching but light hearted. It allows the viewer to take from it what they like or simply sit back enjoy the show and leave. The film is also packed with comic Idioms which amused me to pick out.
All in all a nice feel good movie, that at times hits a little deeper and delivers a charismatic punch or two along the way.