John Doe

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Kim: B- | Grade It Now!

The lights dim, and some home movies play on the wall. Mrs. Palmer says that John was a farmer's son. We see pictures of John as a kid with his parents. Mrs. Palmer says that John was riding horses by the age of five, but then he was diagnosed with adolescent white matter disease, which attacks the brain tissue and is terminal. His parents exhausted all of their medical options, and were then contacted by Mrs. Palmer's organization, which is called The Program. They enrolled John in an experimental therapy, along with six other children with the same disease. Only three of them survived: John, Theresa from Des Moines, and Michael from Baton Rouge. The scar on John's chest is a result of the removal of a device that monitored pH levels. That's an awfully fancy scar for a surgical incision. Usually, those tend to be pretty straight lines. Over time, The Program noted some unexplained side effects in John, including "monochromatic vision, certain unexplained phobias, and a profoundly advanced intellectual development in the cerebral cortex." Aren't all phobias unexplained? Otherwise wouldn't they just be fears? We see footage of the three kids in a classroom, and also goofing around. Mrs. Palmer says that the three kids were destined to cure diseases and end starvation, until the day that John disappeared three years ago. They think that he was in a fugue state, and that his amnesia is another side effect of the treatment. Theresa and the rest had nearly given up hope. So if he disappeared only three years ago, why does the footage of him (if it is in fact him) end when he's about eleven years old? Why don't they have any footage of him as a teenager or young man?

The film ends, and the lights come back up. John says that he's some kind of experiment. Mrs. Palmer tells him not to look at it like that, and he turns to find her standing behind him. John asks why they have to have such secrecy, and why the P.I. was killed. Mrs. Palmer says that was "the unfortunate byproduct of an overzealous employee." John asks if he's really just supposed to accept everything they've told him. Mrs. Palmer encourages him to investigate their claims and "find [his] peace of mind." John starts to yell at her again, but when he turns around, she's gone. Mrs. Palmer is like David Blaine or something. John asks how he's supposed to get out, when he sees a partially open door. He charges out, only to find himself in an alley filled with garbage.

Cut to John pulling into Sweetwater, Idaho. He pulls into a farmhouse and kills the engine. He gets out and checks the mailbox, which says Crowder. The music is totally from either The Natural or Field of Dreams or that type of movie. I expect Ray Liotta to step out of the cornfield in a minute. John wanders over to a tire swing, and then sees the words "Tommy Crowder was here" carved into the barn. A man enters on a horse, because, you know, on farms people just ride horses everywhere instead of walking or driving. The man calls out, "Tommy! Lord, is that you?" He introduces himself as Lorne Barker, and asks if John recognizes him. John doesn't. Lorne says that he knows all about what happened to John, because John's parents told him about the amnesia. Lorne offers to start over and introduces himself again, adding that he owns the property next door. John asks if Lorne knows his parents and where they are.

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John Doe




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