DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD
(director/writer: Kirsten Johnson; screenwriter: Nels Bangerter; cinematographer: Kirsten Johnson; editor: Nels Bangerter; cast: Vasthy Mompoint (Backup Singer); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Katy Chevigny, Marilyn Ness; Netflix; 2020)
“Won me over with its good vibes.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A personal documentary by Kirsten Johnson (“Cameraperson”), a former cameraperson, that tells of her coming to grips in a heartfelt way with her 86-year-old father Dick, a victim of Alzheimer’s who is dying and she films him while he’s in his bed. Surprisingly uplifting and enjoyable, the unique film won me over with its good vibes. It should be noted that the revealing film was made with her dad’s consent.
It’s a playful film, with many inventive sequences. In one sequence, Kirsten presents her father entering heaven. In another, Dick happily plays with his grandchildren.
It’s much like a home movie the viewer might make if they were loose enough to deal comfortably with the tragedy of death and not uptight about using gallows humor.
It should be noted that Kirsten’s mother also had Alzheimer’s and died in 2007.
REVIEWED ON 2/7/2020 GRADE: B+