"If you could cure cancer by killing one person, wouldn't you have to do that'"
- Dr. Myrick (Gene Hackman) to Guy Luthan (Hugh Grant)
Chicago Sun-Times - 09/27/1996
"...Thought-provoking....Pitched at a higher level than most thrillers; the dialogue is literate and intelligent, and Grant is more of an everyman than an action hero..."
At New York's Gramercy Hospital, a homeless man under the care of English doctor Guy Luthan (Hugh Grant) dies in a horrific manner. Soon both the patient and his file mysteriously disappear. The puzzled Luthan is told by a superior to forget about it and move on. Undaunted, Luthan conducts his own investigation--and uncovers a scandal in which homeless people are being used as human guinea pigs in the name of science. The moral Luthan wants to put a stop to this, but doing so may cost him his career--and his life.
Adapted from a book by Michael Palmer, the film marches to its conclusion with as much suspense as director Michael Apted's previous thrillers (AGATHA, GORKY PARK, and THUNDERHEART). Grant plays the charming, put-upon Englishman to perfection, while Gene Hackman and Sarah Jessica Parker provide strong supporting roles. An intelligent examination of the contemporary dilemmas in medical ethics, the film concludes with an ending that will challenge viewers' moral beliefs.
In director Michael Apted's EXTREME MEASURES, a trauma surgeon discovers that the inexplicable deaths plaguing the ward seem to be related to a privately-funded, top-secret research program headed by a venerable physician.
EXTREME MEASURES grossed more than $17 million at the domestic box office.
EXTREME MEASURES is the first venture for Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley's production company Simian Films.
Michael Palmer, the author of the book EXTREME MEASURES, is a former emergency room physician.
The names of the two cops who assist Dr. Myrick are derived from two of Scotland's most infamous serial killers, William Hare and William Burke. Hare and Burke murdered people to sell the bodies to anatomy professors. The two inspired Robert Louis Stevenson's short story "The Body Snatchers."