You Don’t Know Jack is a made for television movie from HBO, though it is also available for rental on DVD. It stars Al Pacino, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, and Brenda Vaccaro. The actors were all directed by Barry Levinson with Adam Mazer taking writing credit.
The movie is based around events in the life of Dr. Death himself Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Kevorkian was a media sensation for not only his views on human rights, but for his assitence to patients in their own demise. He created a “suicide machine” and would assist ill patients with ending their own lives.
Al Pacino puts in an award winning performance; literally as an Emmy was bestowed on him for the role. Not having ever met Jack Kevorkian personally I cannot say whether or not he matched the man quirk by quirk, but Pacino definitely brought an interesting character to life. It has been quite a while since Al Pacino has had a role in which I could take notice and dole out praise, but playing Dr. Death has shown there is life left in his career.
The other Emmy for You Don’t Know Jack was picked up by the writer Adam Mazer. The story ends up being very intriguing, but it did not start out so enthralling. I did not think I would be able to “get into” the movie at first as the opening set up scenes were disjointed character sketches. As the movie progresses though and these sketches become more filled with the events at hand the flow is smooth. The pacing of the movie is very slow, however, the acting and events keeps you riveted.
The scenes involving the patients choosing to commit suicide are bold when companioned with scenes of Jack Kevorkian and his eccentric ways. He is a comedic sort of character doing dark, emotional work. You may chuckle at his way of looking at the world, but I admit when the life ending scenes came I found myself tearing up; each and every time. This movie is brutal, yet touching to the heart.
You Don’t Know Jack introduced you to Jack Kevorkian from a different angle than the media always portrayed him. He is not just some boogeyman obsessed with death, but rather a very inspirational human on par with standing up for his belief to the tune of a Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King Jr.
You do not know jack, and after you see this movie you still may not, but you’ll know at lot more than what you did and there’s a chance you’ll want to look into more about Jack Kevorkian, his various protests, and musings. I fully recommend the movie You Don’t Know Jack as a 134 minute rich character piece. Compelling, and finely acted by all.