Extremis, a documentary short film from Netflix, is the story of a hospital ICU. As much as the film paces and moves like a medical drama, it is distinctly and heart-wrenchingly real.
The film opens on a patient, breathing tube affixed, trying desperately just to communicate. The patient can’t write, nor make discernible letters in the air, and can barely point at letters on a sheet of paper. All the while the doctor is trying with saint’s patience just to help the patient get the words across.
Extremis is the type of film that pulls the viewer into the intimate space of trauma, and it does so in order to highlight the mortal superheroes of the medical profession.
Given its short runtime, the film’s editing choices are key, and what we get is a fast-paced series of medical vignettes that are too close for comfort in a way that feels absolutely necessary.
Extremis is a strongly pointed documentary. There is a lack of depth to the various events that are going on, to the point where this could have served better as a feature length film, but what we get is still an insightful look behind the doors of a hospital’s crisis center. It will floor you with its emotional intensity.
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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)