The HBO movie, You Don't Know Jack, about Dr. Death, Jack Kevorkian, will air tonight at 9p EST, with weekend encores at 2:45a EST and tomorrow at 5:45p EST.
Directed by Barry Levinson (Rainman, The Natural, Good Morning, Vietnam) and starring Al Pacino (with a strong supporting cast including John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, and Brenda Vaccaro), the movie has received mixed reviews from pro-lifers, as you can read in my April 22 post.
Most likely You Don't Know Jack will end up pleasing and displeasing both sides of the assisted suicide/euthanasia issue, as this Big Hollywood review by John Hanlon indicates...
I had expected the movie to paint Kevorkian in a positive light and I was pleasantly surprised that the movie does not portray him as a sensitive and flawless doctor trying to do the right thing for his patients.
In this movie, Kevorkian is seen as a strange and self-centered individual who enjoys being in the spotlight and courting controversy. He is very unlikable and can be cruel to his patients (which can be seen in a dramatic scene of a suicide attempt that goes wrong).
On the other hand, Dr. Kevorkian's legal opposition is not seen in a positive or appealing light either....
In terms of the patients seen in the movie, it is hard not to empathize with them. They often speak about the pain and suffering they are facing and their deaths are often difficult to watch. Whereas Kevorkian is depicted in a harsh light, his practices of helping patients kill themselves are often seen more positively. Unfortunately, the movie does not feature much of a discussion or debate about the issues involving end of life care and the practices that Kevorkian became famous for supporting....
So come back here and write your own review of You Don't Know Jack after watching it.
By all accounts Pacino gave an excellent performance. For Pacino fans, here's his 60 Minutes interview from this past weekend, which touches on the Kevorkian movie.