This Is Your Death
Starring Josh Duhamel, Famke Janssen, Sarah Wayne Callies, Giancarlo Esposito, Caitlin FitzGerald
This film was introduced as a movie with an important message. The way the title sequences opens, showing a bachelor reality show gone horribly wrong, really grabs the viewers’ attention. This is Your Death is the second film from actor turned director Giancarlo Esposito (Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials). It seems he wants to challenge the junk food era of television with a movie that takes a dark look where realty TV might go in an unchecked society. Problem is, unless you are a moron, you understand the FCC is in place for a reason. The majority of the stunts this movie pulls would and could never end up on public broadcast. The acting isn’t atrocious, Duhamel (Transformers) gets closer to being a respected actor, while Janssen (X-Men) is in another forgettable villainess role.
After a tragic conclusion on his popular cable television reality show, Adam Rogers (Duhamel) wants to change the way people think. When Ilana Katz (Janssen) the president of programming, pitches a dramatic idea about people legally dying on television, Rogers takes her concept and changes it into something he says will inspire people. Legal suicide on camera for a desperate soul to raise money for the family they leave behind. The network goes for it after the first successful episode has a contestant electrocuting herself in a bathtub to raise hundreds of thousands for her sexually abused daughter. “This is Your Death” quickly becomes the number one show in America, Rogers a national success, and the moral compass of viewers heading in an even scarier direction.
From the encouraging opening sequence, This is Your Death goes downhill very fast as is piles on one preposterous scenario after another.
From the encouraging opening sequence, This is Your Death goes downhill very fast as is piles on one preposterous scenario after another. Most of the supporting actors, Callies (Prison Break) and FitzGerald (UnReal), come from television and it shows. The production design is the real giveaway that this movie has no business upon the big screen. It’s got “straight to Red Box” written all over it, never more so than a cameo scene where James Franco is a morning anchor for “Morning Show USA”. Esposito’s character Mason can’t find a job to support his family in Southern California. Sure, he doesn’t have a degree, he is 55 years old, but the screenplay acts like once he loses his janitorial job, that his only other avenue is suicide. Wal-Mart people, that store is always hiring! This is Your Death insults the viewer’s intelligence in so many different ways that it becomes caught in its own web.
The stunts and suicides just get more ridiculous, as the script plays out. Except for one mild surprise near the end, the thriller follows a predictable path as the supporting characters are catalysts for the “season finale”. The screenwriters background in short films and television is on full display as the script just jumps from one idea to the next, following the deterioration of the main character. Whatever emotional response Mason’s children pleading with their father was supposed to have, or reflection on the viewer’s choice of programming is thrown out the window by the end.
A cheap attempt to tap into the social decline of reality tv world.