The End (2004)
Directed by Kirby Dick
This 2004 documentary was put together by Kirby Dick, the director of The Invisible War. Starting in 2001 he asked the families of those dying to record their final days on camera. The result is a moving look at the end of life for five subjects. In addition to their deaths, the documentary also looks at the effects of their prognosis on the people around them.
I’ve seen several documentaries on dying. Some of the more powerful films included Dying at Grace and The Suicide Tourist. I’ll have to add this one to the list now. Although the subjects are not as closely examined, this film takes a more personal look than most. The power of the film comes from the very emotional and candid confessions of the people behind the camera. As the family members record the end of a loved one they also have to face their own feelings. This leads to some startling revelations about their relationship with the dying person.
The weakness of this movie couldn’t be avoided with the style of film-making. The camera work is poorly done and seems to be very choppy. I’m sure this is something Kirby Dick expected when he gave emotional family members cameras. I think there might have been more success from having someone outside of the situation involved in filming at times. On the flip side this might have reduced the honest dialogue seen throughout the film.
I’m a fan of all kinds of documentaries. This isn’t a film that most people will enjoy. It’s an honest and stark look at the way we die. If you’re a fan of documentaries about real situations I would suggest watching this one. I give this 3.8 out of 5 stars.