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You Don't Know Jack (2010)

A look at the life and work of doctor-assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian.

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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 10 wins & 35 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Linda
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Brian Russell
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Female Reporter
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David Rivlin
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Vendor
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Oakhill Spokesperson
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Oakhill Doctor
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Janet Adkins
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Rod Adkins
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Taglines:

This man fights for you to die with dignity. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

24 April 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Untitled Jack Kevorkian Project  »

Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During initial production, this was developed as a feature film before it became a television film. See more »

Goofs

Compact Florescent (CFL) light bulbs are visible in the kitchen at the lake house. These bulbs were not widely available in the period of time this film takes place. See more »

Quotes

Lynn Mills: Have you no religion? Have you no God?
Jack Kevorkian: Oh, I do, lady, I have a religion, his name is Bach. Johann Sebastian Bach. And at least my God isn't an invented one.
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Connections

References Leave It to Beaver (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

City Life
Written by Bill Martin (as William E. Martin)
Performed by Harry Nilsson
Courtesy of RCA Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment
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User Reviews

 
Compelling TV
24 April 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Love him or hate him, agree or disagree with his stance on assisted suicide, Jack Kevorkian makes for good television. Detroit's "Dr. Death" is a polarizing force in medical ethics, a man who believes that a person's right to self-determination includes the right to decide when enough is enough.

Al Pacino is a dead-wringer for Kevorkian (pun intended), the son of Armenian immigrants who escaped the Turkish genocide. He passionately lives the edict that one must disobey laws one feels are immoral. For Kevorkian, that means helping the terminally ill end their suffering and die with dignity, at a time of their choosing, regardless of its cost to him.

HBO's docudrama shows Kevorkian at his best and worst, compassionate with those who ask for his help, acerbic to the point of viciousness with anyone he considers stupid. Kevorkian is not necessarily a nice man, but he is obdurate when it comes to his principles. We see him argue with prosecutors, walk out on court proceedings, lock horns with his attorney Geoffrey Fieger. Nothing sways him in his zeal for allowing individuals suffering from end-stage terminal illness to decide for themselves what—and when--it means to die with dignity.

The talented supporting cast includes big names like Susan Sarandon, Brenda Vaccaro, John Goodman, and Danny Huston, as well as a slew of less-known actors who portray Kevorkian's patients/victims with heartbreaking realism. Make no mistake, however; this is Pacino's show from start to finish. His physical resemblance to the real Kevorkian is uncanny. He rants, he rages, he cajoles, he sympathizes. He assists and he initiates. It is sometimes difficult to remember that we are watching a supremely talented actor and not the man he is portraying.

"You Don't Know Jack" clearly sides with Kevorkian's viewpoint. It does so, however without sensationalism, nor does it dismiss nor trivialize the opposing side. In other words, "You Don't Know Jack" does what television does best: It entertains while challenging viewers to engage in dialogue about a topic that truly matters.


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