On the day that a serial killer that he helped put away is supposed to be executed, a noted forensic psychologist and college professor receives a call informing him that he has 88 minutes left to live.
In 16th century Venice, when a merchant must default on a large loan from an abused Jewish moneylender for a friend with romantic ambitions, the bitterly vengeful creditor demands a gruesome payment instead.
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
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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