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
Geoffrey Fieger's name is misspelled in the film credits as "Geoffery Fieger". See more »
[Jack Kevorkian takes the stand, Thompson is the prosecutor]
Can we all presume just for the hell of it that we are really in a courtroom, okay? That there is a judge and a jury and real witnesses?
No, I will not presume. I refuse to presume.
Can we presume that this is a real trial here?
No, we can't. Because there's no law here. Am I wrong?
Prove it. Cite to me one common law case of assisted suicide. One.
I will ask the questions...
Go ahead. I'm listening. We're all waiting.
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Al Pacino gives an absolutely superb, riveting performance in this 2010 HBO production of the biography of Jack Kevorkian.
While the subject matter is difficult to swallow, especially when the assisted suicides begin, the film is done is an exceptionally intelligent matter that focuses on what Kevorkian is attempting to do in his role as an angel of mercy to assist those suffering with terminal illnesses.
The first person who Kevorkian helped was an Alzheimer's patient. It was difficult to understand why he was doing this since the lady knew that the gardener would be there on Thursday to plant. As the other suicides progressed, you realized the situations that people truly face at the end of their horrible existences.
The film depicted what the far right would do in any effort to get after the good doctor. It also brought out that even with such a terrible ethical question pending, politics is never set far apart in the appearance of Michigan Gov. John Engler.
Susan Sarandon is excellent in the role of Pacino's aide who falls victim to a terminal illness. Brenda Vaccaro is equally good as Pacino's sister, a woman who believed in what he was doing but didn't have the sense to call a doctor when she was suffering a heart attack.
Naturally, the film is all Pacino's. He takes you down the road of justification to show you that he is on a mission. It's a great performance that probably will be rewarded at Emmy Time. Ms. Sarandon and Ms. Vaccaro may also warrant supporting nominations as well.
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