Quick-Thoughts: Seconds (1966)

What if you were forced to start life all over again? How would you do it all differently with the knowledge of your previous existence at mind? Or better yet, would any of us ever be able to accept a new life with our old ones still concealed in memories? Imagine if we really did live in a society where people were secretly reborn; could we ever be able to distinguish them from a crowd? Should we ever try to distinguish them more importantly, and if so, would others find it jeopardizing to have their secret reincarnation discovered? Even with second chances, aren’t we still the same old clueless human who never knew how to find clarity in life considering we couldn’t find or define it initially?

This god-like opportunity of being able to reset the tides enables too much power and far too much disappointment according to revolutionary filmmaker John Frankenheimer. Seconds’ etiquette seems a decade ahead of its time: a basket-case of claustrophobic, hand-held or dexterously tilted close-ups assorted with a montage of maniac scenarios that feel far too edgy and scandalous for a sensitive Hollywood industry time period such as the 1960s. Like Hitchcock, this dude was on a whole other level of creativity when it came to pushing the boundaries of the thriller genre. 

It really is rare to come by a science-fiction movie of Seconds’ age that feels as if its fictional content can actually be accomplished genuinely by today’s technological and human standards. A deserved thumbs up for this classic’s ending too, which truly turns the tables in order to achieve consequential effects. Overall, an excellent episode of The Twilight Zone!

Verdict: B+

“Seconds” is now available to stream on The Criterion Channel.

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