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So, assisted suicide, we are gonna need to talk about you today. This is a very touchy subject, particularly in a country that's so much controlled by the religious right as the United States is. Now, of course, this film looks at events, now, over 20 years ago and I haven't kept up with the laws and I do not know how many states have passed laws in favor of physician assisted suicide in cases where there's no other form of action to be taken to help the person improve, if not their chances of survival, if it's a terminal illness, then their quality of life. I've always been of the opinion that, in cases such as where there's a terminal illness where the person is in constant pain and slowly, over a period of time, withers away while their family suffers, and the person in question is rational, competent and of sound mind, then how can ANYONE oppose that person's decision to end their life with a little bit of dignity where they, essentially, just go into a deep sleep that they never wake up from. How is that better than the alternative of a person, on life support, having the plug pulled on them by their family and them, basically, starving to death. Which of these sounds like the more humane solution??? Did you know that Patricia Clarkson, from Everybody Loves Raymond, is against assisted suicide. For religious reasons, because of course she is. I think some advocacy groups engage in willful misinformation and they claim that, wrongfully I might add, that this means that disabled people should be eliminated. And nobody has ever actually said that, because it would be against the person's will. The arguments are that the person who is suffering should make the decision as to whether or not end their life and I'm all for it. People can't live their own lives and now they're trying to live everyone else's. Of course, I'm also for setting up a complex series of hoops so not just anybody can apply for this. We're gonna need as many opinions as we can get, medical records, extensive medical examinations, psychiatric evaluations to determine whether the person is actually suffering and in legitimate pain that they cannot recover from or if they're just lonely, depressed and/or isolated. If they're in the latter group, help set them up with groups that can help with what afflicts them. Now that my spiel is out of the way, in terms of this movie, I'll be honest, of course I knew of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Who, around my age, doesn't know about this guy? I knew about him back before I was an adult and, back then, the perception I had of this guy was what I saw on TV, which was that he was a serial killer. I didn't have an opinion of him in the slightest, but that was just the way the media sensationalized the case. It was a little bit later in life that I did some research on Mr. Kevorkian and came to the realization of what it is that he was doing and his reasoning for it. This movie tells that story as Dr. Kevorkian goes around his business of, um, well assisting in his patients' deaths while also trying to circumvent the law and the super religious DA that attempts to stop him every chance he gets. In a lot of ways, this is kind of a heartbreaking movie to watch at times, because you do get to see some footage of the real interviews that Kevorkian filmed (most shot by his sister) with Al Pacino inserted through CG. It's really tragic to hear these stories of people who are in immense pain and the fact that they feel like the only way they can reach the peace they've been looking for is by dying. What I think the movie does well, outside of Al Pacino's FANTASTIC performance, is the fact that Dr. Kevorkian's message may have been the right one, it's just that he may not have been the right messenger for. He engages in a lot of grandstanding with authorities and that might give the impression that he is longing for the attention instead of trying to start a real national debate about a touchy subject. But I do think they balance that with the fact that, as nutty as Jack may be at times, he is also an incredibly intelligent and rational man. It's just that his honesty and no-filter approach on things might have turned more people against him than he would have wanted. The fact is that Dr. Kevorkian's methods weren't perfect and that's been reported on many times after his release and death in 2011. He never actually met his first patient, he just talked with her husband while the film presents it as they had an extensive interview on camera where Janet, the woman in question, tells her about the suffering she is in. There's people that might have been depressed and assisted suicide might not have been the best course of action. There's another woman that was misdiagnosed with MS. Things like that are things that the movie conveniently ignores. But, the thing is, I feel like the truth might have helped push more the theme of the fact that the message is the right one, it's just that Jack, despite his honest intentions, just wasn't the right messenger. The film is really compelling to watch and, despite its length, it never once dragged. I mean it's a movie that I wish I could go into more detail about, but if I did, I would be here forever. I just think that this is one of those films, and topics, that will inspire spirited debate and I don't wanna keep going. As far as a film is concerned, this is a really damn good movie and Al Pacino gives, in my opinion, one of his best latter-day performances. For that alone, I can recommend it, even if you're wholeheartedly against the concept of assisted suicide but can still appreciate a quality film.
This is one of those films that reveals a sense of reality that we may have not been aware of till it was cinematically unveiled to us, and the very subject matter that made a portfolio worth telling stirred up a morally complicated stance through a strongly-performed, silently-heavy argument. (B+)
(Full review TBD)
I went for Al Pacino, Goodman, Sarandon and I've stayed because I wanted to know about the story. I had heard of it, but I did not know much about it. Not that there is much to know to be honest, but the film tries not to be too bias and lets you have your own opinion and, most importantly, brings back light to a problem not yet resolved.
A controversial really needs the viewer knowing which side he is on.
Watched this on 28/10/16
This film vividly tells you what exactly is wrong about this society of yours, a reluctance to accept change and a tendency to stand by whatever is considered to be conventionally wrong. There is no justice in this world or else matters of such sensitive human rights would never have been violated. Barry Levinson directs this film effectively though in a rather monotonous way. The film is difficult to watch, especially in the last 10 to 15 minutes. Al Pacino delivers a masterful performance, one that reminds us of the talent for which he is world renowned.
Pacino is hitting a new stride lately, and far from phoning in performances which rely only on his "isms" and presence (see: Robert de Niro), he is truly discovering new places to go. His performance as Jack Kevorkian is compellingly multidimensional, transcending his "Pacino-ness" effortlessly. This is also diector Barry Levinson's best work since "Good Morning, Vietnam". I am not kidding. This is a masterfully directed film (it's a HBO production, so it counts) and absolutely wonderfully shot by cinematographer Eigil Bryld (he also shot the brilliant "In Bruges").
one of the most interesting movies I have ever seen. I knew nothing about Dr. Kevorkian but this movie was just fascinating. Al Pacino is fantastic. it does feel boring at times Im gonna be honest. which is why I dont rate it higher
This telefilm is really important because of the issue which it deals with, personal freedom, and the right to decide what to do with our lives. Kevorkian is almost a prophet that exceeds the limits of the law to prove his ideas and to help people who freely wants to end with their suffer
Fascinating docudrama on the life of Dr. Jack Kevorkian.
Al Pacino.... just the best there is... and dr jack sure was something.....
cast really good...