The Most Fun  You Can Have Dying

The Most Fun You Can Have Dying

Director: Kirsten Marcon

Michael (Matt Whelan) is around about your age. Like you, probably, he’d been reasonably assuming that he was at the start of his life. Now he’s got terminal cancer.

 Michael’s only option is an expensive treatment that raises his chance of survival to a dismal 10%, and his town manages to raise the money. But before attending the celebratory ceremony, Michael is told he must get in a wheelchair. “You don’t look … sick enough.” This bleak-but-ridiculous humour continues in Michael’s frequent check-ups. “Jellybeans?” the doctor offers after a particularly gritty prediction. The rare occasions you laugh in this film, you’ll laugh a lot.

 Eventually Michael, reeling from an ongoing bender that began after his diagnosis, casts his weakening morality to the wind. He steals his treatment money and secretly hightails it to Europe, leaving his loved ones in the dark. Abroad, he adopts an increasingly wild lifestyle. One night, he is beaten unconscious in an alleyway and awakes to the sight of the appealingly accented Sylvie (Roxane Mesquida), whose madcap behaviour attracts him. They grow closer, but as they do, they uncover several angsty wounds, and not just Michael’s.

 Whelan’s edgy ennui is an about-turn from the ungainly dork he played in his last major film. I’d almost simperingly call him a star in the making. As events worsen onscreen, you’ll be unable to turn away. However, you might feel you’re sadistically watching a spectacular car-crash of a life, rather than going along with Michael for the ride. Dying is a very difficult topic to convey with sincerity and depth, and sometimes the film just seems to be ticking boxes: Despair, angst, more despair, check, check, check.

 But Marcon hits all her targets very gracefully, and this is a local film you can proudly take your American and British friends to see.

4 / 5
This article first appeared in Issue 10, 2012.
Posted 12:51am Monday 7th May 2012 by Nicole Muriel.