Suicide remains a very sensitive and controversial topic, even more when it’s assisted suicide. Religion plays a big part in many peoples lives and even the mere mention of the word can cause problems. In Jonas Alexander Arnby‘s Suicide Tourist tip toes into assisted suicide as tourism!
With quality of life diminishing for many people worldwide for various reasons can we still block people’s right to choose to end it? Arnby’s film attempts to challenge your own beliefs on our existence, with an unkempt but valorous endeavour.
After 8 years of following him play Jamie Lannister in The Game Of Thrones, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays our ‘tourist’ Max. An insurance adviser who finds himself in an existential crisis, diagnosed with a brain tumour. This leaves Max in a dilemma and conscientious that his well being will gradually deteriorate. As he attempts to sort things out, Max doesn’t want to burden his wife when things go downhill.
After several failed attempts at taking his own life, a solution comes his way from an unexpected person. One of his clients at work whom Max was investigating her missing husband. She mentions The Aurora, an ‘hotel’ that offers that solution he desires.
Max applies to the unique but secretive retreat that offers assisted suicide fantasies. He’s accepted before you know he’s arriving at the hotel. Slowly he settles in to his new surroundings, once again Max starts to question himself again. The more he learns about the facility he wonders if death is the only way out of the hotel? Not all is what it seems!
Suicide Tourist is not a easy watch, neither is the film’s core subject. Regardless hard or honourable you try, you won’t win over everyone over.
What starts as a dark morality tale, slowly pushes towards something that tip toes into the sci-fi genre. Everything from Total Recall, Soylent Green, even Invasion Of The Body Snatchers. It’s at this point the film gets really intriguing, leaving you questioning your own views on the film, maybe more.
Suicide Tourist is an beautifully shot film. The setting of The Aurora hiding in the breathtaking Swiss Alps. The building feels like one of those mysterious James Bond Villain retreats that’s had a 60 minute makeover from IKEA Or Muji.
Coster-Waldau is fantastic, with a stripped down performance that’s nuanced, grounded in reality. He carries the film to a point you feel his characters pain and anguish. On his journey you truly felt empathy even sympathy for him.
Suicide Tourist maybe a tad on the incoherent side at times, it doesn’t fully answer the question on Suicide either. The film’s unpredictable nature is it’s true strength and keeps you gripped. We will all die one day , no one knows when that day will be. There will be nowhere to run or hide when it comes for you. Life is one big great role play, embrace what we have.
Mystery, Drama | Denmark, 2019 | NC-15 | English Subtitles | Glasgow Film Festival |Dir.Jonas Alexander Arnby | Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Tuva Novotny, Kate Ashfield, Robert Aramayo