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Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 9.4/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

86

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 3,901

My Rating

Movie Info

Throughout his work, documentary filmmaker Errol Morris has sought out characters lost in their own eccentric worlds, and he has managed to convey their sense of wonder with their passion, be it a topiary gardener arguing the merits of hand shears in Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (1997) or astrophysicist Stephen Hawking discussing the origin of the universe in A Brief History of Time (1992). In his most provocative work since The Thin Blue Line (1988), Morris details what happens when this

PG-13,

Documentary, Drama, Special Interest

Jun 6, 2000

Lions Gate Releasing

Watch It Now

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All Critics (56) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (39) | Rotten (0) | DVD (11)

Morris, com sua habilidade narrativa habitual, conta a interessante mas incômoda história de um homem destruído pela própria ignorância.

January 30, 2007
Cinema em Cena

Fascinating stuff.

October 13, 2003

Despite its morbid subject, this documentary is far funnier than one would expect.

September 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Gurus

As Errol Morris shows us how this strange little man got into the execution business and Holocaust denial, we should ask ourselves: Did we create 'Mr. Death'? Is he us?

April 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Offoffoff
Offoffoff

Unsettling documentary is a gripping study of the banality of evil.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix
Netflix

A bizarre documentary about the worship of technique and the dangers of self-delusion.

March 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

...probes at our moral and psychological blind spots, at the limited and self-reinforcing nature of our vision.

September 18, 2001 Full Review Source: culturevulture.net
culturevulture.net

The filmmaker deftly steers the viewer through its more disturbing sequences and even finds room for his patented irony.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Errol Morris cements his reputation as the premier contemporary documentary filmmaker.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

This documentary offers one of the most pertinent looks at two highly charged emotional subjects: capital punishment and the Holocaust.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A riveting movie.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

a valuable addition to the cultural landscape

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Morris' most potent film.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Morris uses montages of expert testimony, neo Nazis, Holocaust activists, and forensic scientists along with wacky interview footage to give a truly intimate picture

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

Audience Reviews for Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.

Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. is the leading expert on Instruments of Capital Punishment. What makes him the leading expert? Easy, he was the only one in his field. He's obviously a very capable engineer with a problem solving brain to match but expert is probably a push. When he was asked by revisionist historian (that's holocaust denier to you and me) Ernst Zundel to investigate what was thought to be the Gas chambers at Auschwitz he caused quite the stir with what he found. Death expert, holocaust denier, egotist, seemingly nice guy...this is Errol Morris documentary making at its finest.

http://cinephilecrocodile.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/mr_24.html
July 24, 2014
SirPant

Super Reviewer

Interesting study of Fred Leuchter's underwhelming career, poor judgement and antisemitic reasoning.
November 6, 2011
flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic][color=red]"Mr. Death" is an Errol Morris documentary about Fred Leuchter. Mr. Leuchter is an engineer by trade who specialized in building and repairing capital punishment devices(gallows, gas chamber, lethal injection, electric chair, etc) for various states. He is a proponent of the death penalty. What he is seeking to do is to create humane and safe executions.(A humane execution being an oxymoron if there ever was one...) I have to admit I learned quite a bit about executions in this documentary and that there is much more involved than just flipping a switch. [/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=#ff0000][/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=#ff0000]The second part of the documentary shows off Leuchter's lack of ethical thinking to full effect. He went to Auschwitz on behalf of a Holocaust denier(I'm being polite when I use that term), so that he could find proof that there were no gas chambers there.(It is clearly historical fact that there were gas chambers there.) As testified by an expert on the Holocaust, Leuchter is ill-equipped for the task. [/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=#ff0000][/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=#ff0000]At best, Leuchter never considers what the ramifications his research will have. At worst, he is a full participant in the cause of Holocaust denial which is clearly wrong and hateful. Leuchter goes from something of an eccentric to being a monster in the viewer's eyes.[/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=#ff0000][/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=black][/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=black]"Light Keeps Me Company" is a loving tribute to legendary cinematographer, Sven Nykvist, directed by his son, Carl-Gustav Nykvist. The documentary consists of interviews with many of his collaborators including Ingmar Bergman, Liv Ullman, Susan Sarandon, and Woody Allen, along with his fellow cinematographers. I thought this film filled in some of the blanks of his life including personal details.(Although, I would have felt better if they had not mentioned Nykvist's affair with Mia Farrow.) Nykvist retired due to a condition called aphasia which limits his communication skills. I would have liked to have gotten more of his input on the films he helped to make.[/color][/font]
July 19, 2005
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

Wow! Great early effort by Errol Morris and we can see how his effective documentary tools were developed here. Leuchter probably gets more attention that he deserves as a result but it is a shocking look at the true nut jobs that exist in the broader world.
January 27, 2012
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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Foreign Titles

  • Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter Jr. (DE)
  • Mr. Death : The Rise And Fall Of Fred L. Leuchter Jr. (UK)
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