Dead End Job

In Errol Morris' Mr. Death docu, it's all in the execution

The terminator: Fred A. Leuchter Jr. in Mr. Death.
Nubar Alexanian
The terminator: Fred A. Leuchter Jr. in Mr. Death.


Rated PG-13.

If these themes pique your interest, Mr. Death may come off as fascinating, but it's still a fascinating bummer. There are threads of bleak humor to keep us attentive (such as Leuchter trying to sell a lethal-injection control module for $10,000 in the classifieds), and some of the creepy industrial cinematography and sound effects give the project the feel of a Nine Inch Nails video (though most of Caleb Sampson's music sounds more like Philip Glass). Some of the stock footage, particularly an ugly vintage Edison clip of an elephant being electrocuted, is indeed perverse. Morris has developed his skills to the point where he could probably convince an audience of the dairy origins of lunar stones, and the bottom line is that Mr. Death is an affecting film, but it just may not be everyone's cup of cyanide.

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