Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Altruist (2004)

Category: Reviews

The AltruistBreaking up with standards, thanks to avant-garde filmmaking, we get to watch unusual stuff, like this one where the problem of dying as one wishes is taken to heart by a man who has lived through emotional turmoil from his childhood. Now he runs a company Terminal Assist that assists suicides by providing killers to people who want to die but can’t do it on their own for some reason. Things take an unexpected turn though when a customer of the company shoots his killer in order to save his wife, before he falls dead. His widow wants to know what actually caused the killing. And so we have some suspense to thrill ourselves.

Maybe it is hard to get the idea of all-money-no-morals running the world. How suicide fits in the picture, the narrow picture, is the hook in this story. Some of the actors in the film are quite good but some disappoint, even make you smile at the loose role-playing. At a few moments, Bobbi Ashton (playing the widow) also appears overdoing an expression or a line. There is a touch of humor in some scenes with a feel of realism. 
The Altruist has a different view and look—minimum directional elements visible on screen (think of Dogme 95 cinema) with a handful of cast members and just a little background music. The ending may not feel very agreeable. The topic is nonetheless interesting and debatable. The big question it brings to mind is whether professional assistance in helping one die modifies the nature of killing. In a handful of cases, at least, it maybe justifiable by the hand holding the gun (or a poison pill. etc); yet, the very idea can evoke motives that are malicious and dangerous. 

Not bad stuff to watch if you got some time. Just bear with the obloquy in the opening scene!