Todd Haynes's first effort, recently rediscovered and now available on the Criterion Blu-Ray of SAFE. " I actually made my first film in high school - with a crew and a big production. It was called The Suicide. We emulated the Hollywood practice of oppression: script girls and all the obligatory hierarchies and stuff. I was the co-producer. I wrote the story for a these exam in high school, and it's a film that actually is very similar to poison in structure: it has all these different voices and intercuts all these different realities. We started to shoot it in tenth grade, and we worked on it for two years. The entire second year was devoted to the sound track. We started in Super-8, but by the end of the year we had blown up all the tracks to 35mm. We were able to use the Samuel Goldwyn studios to do our final mix through film brat kids' connections. We went in and did it right after Barnaby Jones and right before The Last Waltz."
A young woman collapses on the disco dance floor of what's revealed to be strychnine poisoning. Assuming that this is an attempt at suicide, her boyfriend and doctor have her committed to the Fifth Floor, an asylum with obviously crazy inmates and a predatory orderly.
Burt Reynolds plays a legendary stunt man known as Sonny Hooper, who remains one of the top men in his field, but due to too many stressful impacts to the spine and the need to pop pain killers several times a day, he knows he should get out of the industry before he ends up permanently disabled.