Sometimes you discover movies on DVD that never played in your area on the big screen. Such a film is A Necessary Death. This film by Daniel Stamm played a few festivals but never got a widespread release, and that's a shame because the film has some very interesting qualities about it. The premise of the film is that it is a documentary about a student filmmaker who makes a film about a person contemplating suicide.
The movie is filmed in documentary fashion, hand held cameras and all, but it is a movie. The actors go by their real first names and seem to be improvising their dialogue but maybe that is just their talent showing. The set up for the film has a young filmmaker named Gilbert (G J Eckternkamp) deciding on the subject matter for a student film project. He comes up with the idea of advertising for someone who has decided to commit suicide. From the applicants he makes a decision to follow the final days of a young man named Matt (Matthew Tilley) who has a terminal brain tumor.
Matt has decided to end his life before all the pain of the tumor arrives. His father had suffered from a terminal illness and he didn't want to put his family through something like that again. Matt's determination to follow through with his suicide plans makes him the perfect candidate. It also convinces Gilbert's crew, which consists of Michael (Michael Traynor) and Valerie (Valerie Hurt). There is also Daniel who operates the camera and is presumably played by Daniel Stamm.
The subject matter of the film is offensive at first when presented as a documentary, but then the twists and turns of the characters take place and it settles into being a movie. And there are enough unexpected pleasures that take place in the film that end up making it absorbing and interesting. The ending comes as a complete surprise, but thanks to the joys of DVDs the movie can be rewound and rewatched in several pertinent places which help set up the ending.
The acting in the movie is also a surprise as you have never seen or heard of these cast members before in any other productions. Matthew Tilley is completely believable as the suicidal Matt and Hurt is impressive as the girl who is drawn to both the filmmaker and the subject of his film.
The film is unrated but has only mild violence and profanity.
A Necessary Death is a film that stays in your head long after it has ended. Director Daniel Stamm knows how to increase the tension level in even the most ordinary of circumstances when played against the suicide backdrop. This tension increases as the film enters a "will he or won't he" phase as the end approaches.
Search for A Necessary Death on DVD and get the full impact of the film. Plus there is a large amount of bonus footage and commentary to add to the enjoyment. A Necessary Death is like finding a lost treasure among the horde of ordinary releases.
Jackie K Cooper