Fluke Movie Poster
|Directed by||Carlo Carlei|
|Produced by||Paul Maslansky
|Written by||James Herbert (novel)
Samuel L. Jackson
|Narrated by||Matthew Modine|
|Music by||Carlo Siliotto|
|Edited by||Mark Conte|
Fluke is a 1995 drama film directed by Carlo Carlei and starring Matthew Modine as the voice of the title character with supporting roles featuring Eric Stoltz, Nancy Travis, Max Pomeranc, Bill Cobbs, Ron Perlman, Jon Polito and Samuel L. Jackson as the voice of Rumbo. The film was based on the novel of the same name by James Herbert.
The story centers on a mutt puppy (a golden retriever, played by dog actor Buddy) named Fluke (voiced by Sam Gifaldi), who has flashing memories and dreams of having lived a human life. After being taken to a pound and eventually escaping, he is raised by an elderly homeless woman named Bella (Collin Wilcox Paxton), who gives him the name Fluke, stating that he is "a fluke by nature, and by name."
After Bella dies of an illness due to poor conditions, Fluke befriends a street-wise St. Bernard-like dog named Rumbo (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson) who takes him to see a man named Bert (Bill Cobbs) who feeds Fluke and Rumbo. Fluke matures into an adult dog (now voiced by Matthew Modine) and eventually realizes that he was once a man named Thomas P. Johnson (also portrayed by Matthew Modine), who died in a car crash.
Fluke is then abducted by a man named Sylvester (Ron Perlman) to be used in animal experiments at a cosmetics company. During his captivity, Rumbo comes to the rescue, and Rumbo is shot by Sylvester, as he and Fluke escape. A dying Rumbo tells Fluke that the black-and-white snapshot of a man in a sailor suit on Bert's wall was him. He also states that when he was a human, Bert was his brother and that he wishes to smell the sea again, suggesting that he died in the line of duty.
After Rumbo's death, Fluke seeks out his wife Carol (Nancy Travis) and son Brian (Max Pomeranc) and reunites with them as their dog. Fluke tries to show them who he once was. He suspects that his human death was caused by his former business partner Jeff Newman (Eric Stoltz) and viciously attacks him when he comes home, and ends up getting put outside. During his life as a dog, he gets to know his family better and bitterly realizes that he was an emotionally distant workaholic.
However, he comes close to killing Jeff by causing him to get into an accident that ends up with him being injured, but at the last minute has a flashback and realizes that Jeff wasn't involved in his death - his death was caused by his own recklessness. Fluke finally manages to show his wife who he really is by digging away the snow covering the word "forever" at the bottom of his tombstone, something that in his human life, he would often say to his wife. With a heavy heart, he decides it's better to move on, as the man he was is dead and gone. So he leaves his family, never seeing them again. He realizes that life is simply meant to be cherished, regardless of how one lives it.
Far away and sometime later, Fluke is resting under a tree by himself. To his surprise, he encounters Rumbo, now reincarnated as a squirrel. Rumbo tells Fluke about life as a squirrel and about reincarnation.
- Matthew Modine as Thomas P. Johnson, a workaholic, Jeff's best friend, Carol's wife and Brian's father
- Nancy Travis as Carol Johnson, Thomas's wife, Brian's mother
- Max Pomeranc as Brian Johnson, Thomas and Carol's son
- Eric Stoltz as Jeff Newman, Thomas's best friend
- Bill Cobbs as Bert
- Ron Perlman as Sylvester
- Jon Polito as Boss
- Collin Wilcox Paxton as Bella
- Buddy as Fluke
Reviews of Fluke were negative with film review website Rotten Tomatoes tallying only 27% of its collected reviews as positive, giving the film a label of "Rotten". Despite these poor reviews both Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel gave it thumbs up , and the film also received a rating of 6.6/10 from the movie website Internet Movie Database. In addition to IMDb, Allmovie's reviewer Mark Deming gave the film 3/5 stars. Fluke underperformed at the box office, generating just under $4 million in the American box office. Fluke was nominated in 1996 by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for Best Fantasy Film and Best Performance by a Younger Actor for Max Pomeranc.