Friday, 17 February 2017

REVIEW - EXTREMIS (DAN KRAUSS)


Dan Krauss continues to pay worthy tribute to America's unsung heroes, its professionals burdened with life-or-death responsibilities on whom the nation relies for its safety and welfare. His short film Extremis takes a compassionate look at end-of-life care for terminally ill patients and the decision-making process on their ongoing dependency upon life support. It's an issue that demands a sensitive touch; Krauss' documentary chronicles are as intimate as they are detached, his purview ever centred on those toughest, truest emotions that guide people through that process. Extremis exists only through its understanding, affording the viewer the requisite insight without any potential for more troubling, affecting emotional attachment of our own. Whether it's Krauss' focus on the mundanity of life in even these most exceptional of circumstances, his refusal to dramatize, or the simple brevity of his film, there stands a robust barrier between action and viewer reaction. That perhaps hobbles this film, which one would willingly excuse extending for four or five times its runtime so that Krauss could further exercise his sympathetic inquisitiveness. Yet as a brief tribute to the medical teams overseeing these painful times, and to those undergoing them, Extremis is a fine and noble enterprise, resolutely respectful and appropriately polished. Dan Krauss himself is the kind of dedicated professional whom he profiles in his own work, and the kind of which the world could do with many more.