Published Oct 01, 2003Matt Shapiro (Don McKellar in yet another Canadian movie) is dying of AIDS and wants to end his suffering. His death arouses the suspicions of the New York's Assistant District Attorney, Nick Devivo (Parker Posey), who questions Matt's family and the guests invited to a suspicious party held in his honour the night of his death.
Suicide and euthanasia are complex, sensitive subjects and director Fitzgerald's sympathies are obvious in this film, too obvious. The Event is a brave but heavy-handed advocacy piece full of noble intentions but lacking in compelling drama. Fitzgerald presents only one side to the euthanasia debate, and his argument suffocates in melodrama.
The movie fails to gain the audience's sympathy for its main character. Matt looks too robust for a person with AIDS and there's no clear transition in his character's physical or emotional states. What's most annoying is that there's a lot of talk about Matt's excruciating treatments, but we see very little of them. By the end of the film, which is endlessly long, we don't care if Matt lives or dies.
Fitzgerald, who won raves for his debut, The Hanging Garden in 1997, returns with a Canadian/American co-production studded with stars like Parker Posey, Frasier's Jane Leeves, Brent Carver, Sarah Polley and Olympia Dukakis. Sadly, the cast is wasted in this production, though Dukakis deserves praise for fleshing out a thin character, Matt's tormented mother. (Th!nk)