Rebirth. Life again.

Begin again all new...all different. The way you always wanted it.

You’ve got another chance. Heck, nobody’s going to miss you, are they?

Old Man to Arthur Hamilton, Seconds (1966)

Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph), a straight-laced, middle-aged banker, takes stock of his life and finds that he is staring into the abyss. Despite outward appearances of success, both his marriage and his relationship with his adult daughter have run cold. His pending promotion as president of a prestigious Manhattan bank provides little solace from his late-night meditations on the empty nature of his existence. A telephone call from an old college friend, long thought to be deceased, offers the allure of an easy escape and a second chance with a youthful and striking physical appearance (exit John Randolph, enter Rock Hudson). Hamilton realizes too late, however, that the Faustian agreement to abandon his old life and adopt a novel persona has hidden, and horrific, consequences. 

John Frankenheimer's Seconds is a cautionary science-fiction tale and a stark reminder that “wherever you go, there you are”. The siren’s song of an alternate, perfect life, effected simply by starting over in a new place/relationship/career, retains its hold on the popular imagination. The film also serves as a commentary on society's infatuation with youth and physical beauty. 

For the criminal practitioner, the film is a reminder that rehabilitation requires more than simply distancing yourself from your prior actions with a change of name or address. You can’t escape yourself or your past – there are no quick fixes - you can only accept responsibility for your past choices and begin the hard work of choosing to act differently in the future.

Other considerations:

·      The definitive consumer release of this film in North America is the 2013 Blu-ray edition released by the Criterion Collection (spine number 667).

 

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