Release Date: October 25th, 2006 (Film Forum) by First Run/Icarus. Directed by Fernand Melgar.
In French with subtitles.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about Exit ADMD, a Swiss organization that specializes in assisting suicides for terminally ill people.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Exit documents a provocative and controversial, subject matter: assisted suicide. For over 20 years, people in Switzerland can become members of the organization Exit ADMD as a means to legally assist their own suicide. There are many rules required to be followed in order to reach that final stage when an escort gives lethal pills or liquid. The person must be terminally ill with a painful disease such as multiple sclerosis and cancer (which has the longest queue); depression doesnít count. He or she must also often explicitly request to die and must be a permanent resident of Switzerland. A few of the over-worked escorts get to know their patients during the lengthy communication process. These escorts have to try not to get too emotionally close to the patients, but itís easier said than done. Director Fernand Melgar does a respectful job of focuses on the nature of Exit ADMDís business procedures without getting too close to any of the ailing members. Melgar clearly knows the difficulty of this subject matter, so he wisely shows footage where members and delegates from other countries can voice their concerns. The last few minutes of the film includes a gradual death scene that is difficult to watch even though the member does die peacefully.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Exit raises some technical issues about assisted suicide, but avoids the larger issues such as what religion has to say about this procedure. It would have been more profound to examine why Switzerland legalizes assisted suicide while other countries donít. Itís interesting that Exit ADMD specializes in the last stages of oneís life, yet, concurrently, it stresses the importance of good, healthy life. Even though the escorts facilitate the memberís death so that they donít experience pain, itís somewhat of a depressing experience to watch or even to think about.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Doesnít examine larger issues about assisted suicide.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 1
IN A NUTSHELL: Provocative, fascinating and controversial, but not profound enough.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
The "E" Menu