Buried Credits, a column that deep dives into the IMDB pages of favorite actors, directors, and writers to find their lost, forgotten, or unknown film and TV credits, continues this week with works featuring Keri Russell.
Extraordinary Measures (2010)
Directed by Tom Vaughan
Written by Robert Nelson Jacobs
Based on a book by Geeta Anand
Most children with Pompe don’t live past the age of nine. John (Brendan Fraser) and Aileen (Russell) Crowley are well aware of this statistic. Two of their three children suffer from the rare genetic disorder. Still, this doesn’t stop life from cruelly punctuating that age expectancy when, the day after their daughter, Megan (Meredith Droeger), turns eight, she has a bad health scare. Their doctor tells them to think of it as a blessing, an ending to her suffering. Later, Fraser gets to deliver the line back, “I guess we dodged that blessing.”
Inspired by a true story, Extraordinary Measures is a film you always want to give the benefit of the doubt but that succumbs to more and more sap as it goes along. It’s the adults, not the kids (Diego Velazquez and Sam M. Hall play Megan’s brothers), who are the offenders. Well, Keri Russell doesn’t do much offending but that’s because she isn’t around much, after John flies off to Nevada in search of scientist, Dr. Bob Stonehill (Harrison Ford). Stonehill has written a theory for treating Pompe that could lead to a cure but he won’t return John’s phone calls. After Megan’s experience, John isn’t about to wait and takes his questions to him.
In the beginning, Ford’s commitment to Stonehill’s edges is a change of pace from Hollywood’s gruff grump with a heart of mush. When John has to scout a building to find Stonehill’s office, only to be kept waiting at the window, that’s avoidance. But then you get a lot of yelling “Get out of my lab,” and loud rock music (because it’s never loud yodeling) and you end up fatigued by the insubordination. When Stonehill storms off to his car and stares at the fish Megan gave him at their first meeting (isn’t that cute, he hung it on his dashboard *eyeroll*) you know. It’s full sap ahead from this point forward.
Verdict: Not Sure
For all the tropes Extraordinary Measures is guilty of it’s also a film more willing than most to expound on some scientific realities. The little guy doesn’t always win by defying the big corporation. Joining forces with the big corporation isn’t demonized. Keri Russell doesn’t have a lot of scenes but makes an impression when John rushes to the hospital from work. Launching into a conversation about penguins before he can speak, John follows her lead as they continue to talk about penguins for Megan, as she’s rushed to the ICU. This movie’s far from perfect, and I don’t think I’d recommend it, but you want the medicine they’re creating to work, for the Crowley’s and families like them.
Check back tomorrow as we close off our week on Keri Russell with samba dancing.