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A Necessary Death


Suicide isn’t painless.

Rod Lott May 30th, 2012

Gilbert Toma had an original, envelope-pushing idea for his film school thesis project: Document the final days of someone who has decided to end his or her life, including the actual act of suicide. One Craigslist ad seeking such a subject later, 142 tapes were shot, and the end result is A Necessary Death.

necessarydeath

After 22 minutes of auditioning and logistics, Toma and team get down to business with their chosen "star," Matt, a young British man who would prefer to kill himself before the fatal brain tumor he has reaches the unavoidable stage of unbearable pain.

We watch as Toma films Matt talking to the camera about his brief life. We also watch as he watches the Final Exit video for pointers, tours the city's points of great heights, goes to a tarot card reader for the heck of it, shops for coffins, partakes in possibly his last poker night, and visits his kindly mother ... who still doesn't know of his hopeless prognosis.

Sound morbid? Then you'll be glad to know it's all a joke — well, not a joke joke, but a fake documentary by The Last Exorcism director Daniel Stamm, making its DVD debut four years after the fact. With no recognizable faces and valiant efforts to establish the legality of Toma's role as witness, A Necessary Death makes a more-than-fair approximation of being authentic. I can see it fooling some people until, perhaps, the "twist" ending.

Too bad it's such a downer — and not just because of its themes of depression and finality, but because Toma (G.J. Echternkamp, Hard Candy), Matt (Matt Tilley) and the others just don't do much beyond the aforementioned agenda. The moral issues are most intriguing, but they are swept aside quicker than one would expect, and I lost genuine interest halfway through, when it ceases being unconventional. Oh, the gang also plays charades, but how interesting is that?

Not much. And you know what they say: It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. Well-intentioned but not well enough to merit a viewing, A Necessary Death is an effort one can admire without necessarily having to watch it. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
The Last Exorcism Blu-ray review 




 
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