Sunday, June 13, 2010

Reverend Death (2007)

Ron Jonson

Six years ago the award-winning journalist Jon Ronson began filming what has turned into a most extraordinary and thought-provoking documentary. The Reverend George Exoo is a seemingly jolly, but not very successful Unitarian minister from Beckley, West Virginia who has drifted into helping non-terminally ill people commit suicide. George claims that so far he has helped more than 100 people commit suicide. George extols the afterlife and explains how he looks forward to his own death because it will be a great adventure.  At the start of filming, Jon Ronson believed that everyone has the right to terminate their own lives. However, as the film progresses, Jon begins to change his mind and also starts to have serious reservations about what Rev. George Exoo does and about the motives of his new assistant Susan, who claims she'll help practically anyone kill themselves if the price is right: 'For George it's a calling,' she says. 'For me it's a business.' At the same time, George is facing extradition proceedings for his part in a suicide in Ireland. If you think your calling from God is to help people die, are you a saint or something more dangerous ?


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