Film Threat archive logo


By Don R. Lewis | May 29, 2012

This review was originally published on November 9, 2008…

For years and years there’s been talk of society decaying to the point where we’re willing to watch executions and torture live on television. O.K., well, fine. So for years I’ve been saying society will eventually decay to the point where we want to watch executions and torture on TV, but I’m sure other people feel the same way. I mean, look at how we glom on to pitiful celebrities and their sad meltdowns and all the while waiting for people at the height of their career to crash and burn. How much longer until we want more blood? According to the team behind the intriguing documentary-hybrid film “A Necessary Death,” the time to up the entertainment ante is upon us.

For his graduate thesis film, student Gilbert Toma (Echternkamp) decides to seek out a suicidal person via Craigslist and see if they won’t let him, his DP (Traynor) and sound girl (Hurt) document the suicidal persons last days, culminating in the final act itself. In our celebrity starved culture it’s no shock when Gilbert gets several replies and he and his crew finally decide on a bright, articulate young man named Matt (Tilley) as their subject.

Without giving too much away the reasons for choosing Matt are pretty clean and clear. Yet for whatever reason Matt has decided he wants to end his life, there’s still some life to be lived and filmed and each person in “A Necessary Death” runs the gamut of conflicted feelings for what they’re doing as well as conflicting feelings about Matt. Yet the crew works tirelessly as Matt’s days wind down to his final week of life on this planet.

“A Necessary Death” is upsetting festival audiences and, well, that’s a good thing. I enjoy movies that spark discussion and divide audiences. Plus the film has quite a bit of depth and that depth stems from your feelings on the subject of suicide plus, inevitably, your feelings about the films subject, Matt. Should assisted suicide be legal or is all suicide wrong? Is it wrong because it’s a sin or is it wrong because people may heal or are just in need of medical help? Did you sort of not care if Matt did or didn’t off himself but changed your mind as you got to know him? Round and round the debate goes but “A Necessary Death” stays pretty well focused on the fact that young Matt is going to kill himself and the film crew is going to film it all. “A Necessary Death” is an intriguing film with several twists and turns and when the credits roll, it’s interesting to see if you think anything has really been resolved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. sharon maxwell says:

    Watching this film made me sick to my stomcah!!! That jerk who deserved what he got far as im concerned as he pushed this handsome young man to kill himself!! How dare you allow someone to kill themseleves especially make a REAL LIFE FILM about it!!! Sucidie is NOT FUNNY OR A JOKE! This young man still had plenty of life left within him. I could understand when he got to the point the pain set in and was unbarable and then go to the hospital and have a large portion of pain meds to let him pass comfortbaly… But this team they all made me sick!! And believe they all should be held accountable for not helping him find help and show him life is worth while!!! Not only has matt’s mom lost a husband but now a young son! Even matt said it was a SLOW disease so why not make the most of the time he had?!! Why not tell his mother? It sickened me!!! And to make a film on something like this thats TWISTED and sick and disgusting.. Suicide is a SIN and you go to hell not heaven!! I was happy when that VAl changed matt and he decided to live. Then she went to that sick bastard who started this whole thing. And coz of that B***ch matt is now DEAD and that jerk who started it all for MONEY!! I never want to see another doctumnetary like this again in my life!!!

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon