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You Don't Know Jack (2010)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama | TV Movie 24 April 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 & 36 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Linda
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Stan Levy
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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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Jack Lessenberry
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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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This woman wants to die on her own terms. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

24 April 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Untitled Jack Kevorkian Project  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

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

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 »

Quotes

Geoffery Fieger: 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.
Jack Kevorkian: Oh. Well, I'm glad to hear there's still some smart people in power left.
Geoffery Fieger: That was the good news. They also ruled that there's no constitutional right to commit suicide...
Jack Kevorkian: I take back what I just said.
Geoffery Fieger: ...and that aiding in one falls under an old common-law definition of murder.
Jack Kevorkian: Common law? What the hell is that?
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Connections

Spoofed in Saturday Night Live: Vince Vaughn/Miguel (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Early in the Morning
Written by Dallas Bartley, Leo Hickman & Louis Jordan
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 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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