Barry Levinson’s made for HBO movie is about the completely eccentric retired Doctor Jack Kevorkian, who believes that it is his duty to put people out of their misery. With the help of his sister and his only friend in the world, who happens to run a medical supply business-Doctor Death starts to help people who no longer want to live, kill themselves. Each death has a small number showing how many people died with Dr Kevorkian’s assistance. We end around 130.
The cast of You Don’t Know Jack is impressive. Al Pacino, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, and blast from the past Brenda Vaccaro. They do a great job of bringing to life the world of this odd little man who quietly-and not so quietly-went about the business of assisting people to commit suicide.
Assisted suicide is one of those issues that touched a very deep nerve. It’s all but impossible to watch the dramatized videos of people begging for Dr Kevorkian’s help and not feel the desire to reach out and kill them yourself. On the other hand, there are people who think that Jack was nothing less than the most successful serial killer of modern times. You Don’t Know Jack clearly falls on the side of Jack being in the right side and everyone who prolongs life and makes a profit from it being in the wrong. But we still plenty of protestors and hear the opinions of people who disagree with the good doctor.
The story follows Jack Kevorkian as he goes about the business of helping people kill themselves and the many times he is arrested and put in jail. The most important case is the finial one, where he kills a patient with his own hand and broadcasts the act on CBS’s Sixty Minutes. This was not assisted suicide, it was good old fashioned murder. He tried to drag up all the emotional videos and begging for death-but he is not being tried for assisted suicide-and that testimony is not allowed. He ends up spending almost ten years in prison.
Jack Kevorkian died on June 3, 2011. Al Pacino won an Emmy for his portrayal of Dr Kevorkian.