Decisions, decisions. So this is a documentary short that takes us into a hospital’s ICU. The quality of life that some of these patients have is debatable, and it is up to the doctors to try and provide guidance to family members and loved ones who are making up their minds on whether to pull the plug or not. Now Netflix is always trying to grow and develop their market, and that is something that I can appreciate and support. They have original television series that are winning Emmys, an entire slice of the Marvel universe (that I haven’t yet found the time to explore), and they’re even making movies that I consider to be Oscar snubs like Beasts of No Nation. It makes logical sense for them to be making a play for a Best Documentary Short Subject, which is exactly they have done with Extremis.
Now if it gains the traction to pull off a win is something else entirely, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this got a nomination.
While this is an effective documentary, it can’t go without saying how overly simple this is. It is just this handful of families, trying to make one of the most difficult decisions of their lives, and that’s about it. You don’t even really get to know much about the patients, only the smallest bit of background is given on their loved ones, and while I do understand why it is not necessarily possible to expand on the lives of these people, it would have made for a much more effective piece if they could have. Still, all of the raw, real life emotion is captured on film, and that is definitely worth something.
There is a very good chance that you will have to personally go through this at some point in your life.
I honestly don’t have all that much to say about this. It’s just like spending time in a hospital, which is a hard sensation to recommend. It makes you contemplate about your own mortality as well as that of your loved ones, and it makes you question what you would do when this situation inevitably happens to you. I don’t regret spending 24 minutes of my life watching this hospital documentary about family members considering putting the period on a dear one’s life, but it’s hard for me to rally up people to get excited to watch it.
Extremis (2016) ***
– Critic for Hire