Originally titled ‘This Is Your Death,’ Grindstone Entertainment Group brings us ‘The Show,’ a horrifying satire on reality television and how it impacts the culture.
Adam Rogers (Josh Duhamel) is the host of a show similar to The Bachelor, but things go wrong when the rejected female contestants shoots the would-be groom and then herself. He goes on a network morning show where he rants to the host (James Franco) about how television means nothing, for which his sister Karina (Sarah Wayne Callies) is proud. The network exec Ilana Katz (Famke Janssen) sees this and is intrigued. After speaking to a struggling janitor named Mason Washington (Giancarlo Esposito), who then gets fired for unrelated reasons, she tries to convince Adam and his producer Sylvia (Caitlin FitzGerald) to use the new “assisted suicide” laws to create a reality show where the contestants kill themselves on screen. At first horrified, Rogers decides to take on the new show This Is Your Death, despite the network’s lawyer Bernie’s (Garry Chalk) warnings. Later, Rogers gets Mason fired from his second job, forcing him to try something desperate. Meanwhile, the show is a smash hit, with viewers being able to vote on deaths, but when one woman attempts an escape, Rogers crosses a line.
This movie is troubling in some sequences with scenes of deeply troubled people deciding to end their lives for their family’s sake, for charity, or just for their own reasons. It does not in any way glorify suicide, but instead shows how television networks, show hosts, and even audiences glamorize the violence and sadness surrounding these folks. It is a timely message on the consumption of media and though it was a bit clunky at times, with seemingly two climaxes, it still made sense in its observations.
For one thing, Duhamel’s portrayal of the TV host who is deluding himself into thinking he is doing something for humanity, “changing the world.” The same with Famke as the exec who only cares about ratings and money. The redemption arc of Esposito and Callies’ character are very interesting as they watch the people they love succumb to different things. Watching their reactions to it and life is telling.
I also want to praise Giancarlo Esposito’s directing skills. He does a good job of keeping the plot moving together at an easy pace and brings out the character’s strengths and weaknesses. Like I said, the movie did have two endings, though they do not conflict with the message and observations of the movie, it was still a head-scratcher. That being said, Esposito’s directing skills are admirable and I hope he gets more opportunities to direct.
Bottom line, The Show challenges our notions of fame and television in a brutal way. It is satire and at times clunky, but it is a sharp look at these things from the execs to the actors to the audiences.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Strong foul language, Bloody violence, Disturbing Images, Brief nudity
FAVORITE QUOTES: Life is precious, make the most of it.
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my movie reviews of Jojo Rabbit and The Death of Stalin. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.