Ray Liotta and Kiefer Sutherland star as doctors whose devotion to healing the sick goes way beyondthe call of duty in a film that's captivating, compelling and "as vital and immediate as the evening news" (Associated Pres... more »s). When Dr. Peter Morgan (Sutherland) begins his medical internship at a Veteran's Administration hospital, he expects to breeze through on his way to a cushy practice. Instead, he's thrust into a bizarre bureaucratic maze where the health of patients is secondary to politics. And the temperature really rises when he teams up with some freewheeling physicians, led by Dr. Richard Sturgess (Liotta), who think they've learned how to break the rulesand save liveswithout getting caught.« less
"Article 99 (Howard Deutch, 1991)Here's an interesting concept. Take a director whose career is rapidly fading, give him a star whose career is rapidly fading, and stock his film with rising stars. Think you can come up with a saleable product?You can if you're Howard Deutch (Pretty in Pink) and Kiefer Sutherland (The Lost Boys). Article 99 was the last good film Sutherland made before the dry spell that ended with Dark City; Deutch is still looking for a comeback film. Sutherland is surrounded by then-rising stars who have since become household names, including Ray Liotta (fresh off the success of Goodfellas), Kathy Baker (a year before Picket Fences), Keith David (still best known for playing Childs in Carpenter's 1982 remake of The Thing), and Lynne Thigpen (who, come to think of it, still hasn't gotten the recognition she deserves). Put the lot of them in a VA hospital, as (all except David, who plays a sociopathic-but-likable Vietnam vet) they try to cut through all the red tape and just do their jobs, while the hospital's administrator (John Mahoney, now known as Frasier's dad) tries to hamstring them at every turn. It doesn't sound like a recipe for the kind of comedy Deutch is used to directing, but somehow it all works, with the doctors and the administration battling it out until things go just one step too far, as they usually do in movies. And it still could have fallen flat on its face if not for the very last scene, as the end credits begin rolling. It's a feel-good movie that doesn't allow you to feel good. Now THAT'S an accomplishment. *** 1/2"
Accurately depicts WW2, Korea & Vietnam Vet's medical care.
sammy88 | 10/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Article 99 isn't the "action film" which many see it as, nor is it a true comedy. It's more of a satirical parody of what these vets go through when trying to obtain their "guaranteeed lifetime medical benefits". Bearing in mind that Vets of these eras did receive that guarantee in exchange for higher pay rates, it accurately depicts a portions of what these vets have to go through to receive the care FOR WHICH THEY PAID. Most who have lived through those eras or who are frustrated with the lost promise- similar to a retroactive pay cut have a more precise understanding of the film. Vets of these wars & particularly those who have attempted to access the quality medical care promised them see may be able to view this film as highly accurate. The humor is ingrained in attempting to receive this retroactive benefit promise. The film's very accurate depiction & humor makes it almost sad by illustrating in view of the degradation that the Vet must encounter when trying to access their medical care, when needed. It also illustrates the low status given to the Vet in attempting to access health care. I suppose if one really wants an accurate feel for this film, they should sit in a VA Hospital clinic reception area for 6-12 hours so as to see a doctor who will refer them to another to see in 2 months, or schedule a test 4 weeks off, with instructions to return to this dr thereafter. The unknowing viewer can walk though the clinic to discover that the Vet who saw the referral doctor and had the test 2 months earlier, will in many cases meet with "lost records" & the need for a rescheduled appointment. By the time of returning to see the origianl Dr., he/ she is usually no longer on rotation at this government hospital. So the Vet must start over from scratch with a brand new dr who knows nothing of him, and can't locate the test results. Of course, by the time these records are located, any negative results have probably caused medical deterioration. Add to this the fact that the Vet's follow up appointment may very often be rescheduled up to 3 months down the road. This IS the reality, which sprouts humor to the "insider".For the young eager Dr/ resident, he too starts out highly frustrated & often must pull strings to accellerate the Vet's needed care. It's unlikely that one's VA doctor will be around throughout the Vet's entire diagnosis & treatment. So no one really works to assist the patient. This movie may be compared to "The Doctor" in view of a chronically or seriously ill patient who gets frustrated and often gives up attempting to receive the care that is not readily available.It also can be compared to the legislature's recent desire to control medical care of private patients in order to assure that those not paying are treated. I perceived the film as highly accurate in it's depiction of treating the Vet as though they were non- paying welfare recipients. In most cases, the doctors are too young to fully understand that these earlier Vets paid for their medical care in the same manner as one pays his medical insurance premium & co-pay's. The difference is that these Vets paid for their medical care by forsaking the pay they were due, and are thus, far from the Welfare spectrum. But permitting welfare recipinets to use these facilities now is another way of cheating the Vet, who now must apply for private insurance & is expected to pay the balances of bills out of pocket... someone must pay for those who expect FREE- NO PAY insurance & open- ended medical care, so the vet is financially penalized. It's not just the taxpayer now; it's the Vet... and he/ she is being cheated. Perhaps it's a film which is difficult for anyone under 40 to fully understand since many equate the Vet with the welfare patient, and view both as living off the system. The unknowing viewer may also not fully comprehend the delivery of services, which were VERY ACCURATELY deopicted in the film. To understand, they need to accompany the Vet to an appointment at a VA hospital. First of all, it takes anywhere from 1-3 months to get in. Then after a 6- 13 hour delay, sitting in reception areas and losing pay at their jobs, the vet is seen by a young new Dr. He/ she may order tests, a follow- up referral with another department Dr & then a return visit. Given the average 2-3 letters acknowledging a changed appointment due to overbooking, et al... the Vet often returns to find that the Dr. he saw is no longer at the hospital; the tests done- with no results providrd for 3-4 months are probably in his missing medical file, and the new dept dr. is unaware of the the Vet's medical history, problem or follow-up, so the dr then redoes an initial work up... Very often the Vet is disgruntled with losing 2 full days of pay and being nowhere further then when first coming in months earlier. On the positive side, the young dr if viewing this film and others of a similar nature may gain some perspective into the the film's true-to-life merits. He may also learn for the first time of these Vets having paid for their medical during their active tour while in service. I'm not a big Southerland fan, but do likr Leotta; yet the 2 did a good job in their roles here. I'd recommend the film to 40 y/o plus adults & younger people who are unaware of the promises made to the older vets. These viewers may be able to view this scenario in the same light as accessing medical care which is dictated by a corporate medical group. Perhaps those who have dealt with the frustrations of attempting to access medical care via a HMO/ PPO may have some understanding here; if they have chronic or serious medical problems/ disabilities, their insight may be greater. Yes, the film has some political overtones; but the VA Healthcare system is controlled by the government & thus politics are at the center focal point. This political influence is moving into private healthcare now, so a better under- standing may exist. In addition, anyone with a serious/ chronic medical condition has probably lived through these similar frustrations. In sum, I found the film accurate, and unfortunatley predictable for this scenario. Although it's not new, those with some level of understanding of political influences in healthcare may in fact empathize with the vets who have no other options & may then find this film a good one."
I can relate as an older korean war vet unable to get care
KLANTHORN@EARTHLINK.NET | YORK PA USA | 12/26/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"IWEPT WHEN I SAW THIS MOVIE AS I AM AN OLDER KOREAN WAR VET THAT HAD TO BEAT MY HEAD AGAINST THE SYSTEM WALL.I DONT LIKR KIEFER SOUTHERLAND BUT IN "99" HE IS TERRIFFIC.I BOUGHT THE VCR TAPE FOR MY V.A. DR."
Article 99 Film Review
sammy88 | Dublin,Ireland | 05/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Article 99 is a fresh story that needs to be told as it keeps on the lines of the truth. The story its self is very enjoyble and with a cast that is so well put together this film never goes down hill. It will keep your attention from start to finish as you will be left thinking about this truly magnification story that will stay in your head for weeks."
Extreamly Funny Satire
Robert P. Beveridge | 11/12/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A great foundation of hilarious comedy by great actors and great casting. Poking fun at the politics of the Vetran's Hospitals. An excelent choice for watching again and again."