Dr. Jack Kevorkian (1928 - 2011 ) in the 1990s, when he defies Michigan law assisting the suicide of terminally-ill persons. Support comes from his sister, a lab tech, the Hemlock Society president, and a lawyer. The child of survivors of the Armenian genocide interviews applicants: his sister video tapes them. He assembles a device allowing a person to initiate a three-chemical intravenous drip. The local D.A., the governor, and the Legislature respond. In court scenes, Kevorkian is sometimes antic. He's single-minded about giving dying individuals the right to determine how their lives will end. He wants the Supreme Court to rule. He picks a fight he can't win: is it hubris or heroism? Written by
During initial production, this was developed as a feature film before it became a television film. See more »
Kervorkian was tried in 1993 in Detroit Recorders Court, which was at the time housed in the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, a brutalist modern building constructed in 1968. When he exits the courthouse in the movie, Kervorkian walks out of the 19th century Roman Baroque old Wayne County building. See more »
The court of appeals' ruling just came in and they ruled in our favor. They said that the law was so poorly worded that it could not be upheld.
Oh. Well, I'm glad to hear there's still some smart people in power left.
That was the good news. They also ruled that there's no constitutional right to commit suicide...
I take back what I just said.
...and that aiding in one falls under an old common-law definition of murder.
Common law? What the hell is that?
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I've seen "You Don't Know Jack" twice now and will certainly watch it several times more with friends coming to watch my DVR HD recording of this HBO TV movie. It's not easy to watch the harrowing scenes of terminal patients in great distress. But with an outstandingly intelligent script, first-class cinematography and stellar performances by all the actors it becomes compelling viewing. Like Marion Cotillard's portrayal of Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose", Pacino's incredible performance will leave us with the feeling that he has indeed become Dr Kevorkian for us. His powerful acting gains pace as the movie progresses until the final dramatic courtroom scenes end the remarkable story of a pioneer eccentric's human rights obsession. While overtly sympathetic to Kevorkian, all sides of the arguments for or against assisted suicide are fairly presented and leave one thinking about the subject for days. In addition to Pacino's tour de force role I think that Barry Levinson's inspired direction brings this movie to masterpiece status. I hope it will be released on DVD soon so that a much wider audience can see it.
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