To Dust opens this weekend and is a comedy/drama about death and decomposition. As expected, this is a serious and sad movie. Yet, for those in the medical profession with a dark sense of humor, To Dust is a movie for you.
The film opens with the sound of labored breathing with a respiratory machine. When the breathing and machine stops, the husband Shmuel (Geza Rohring) cuts his coat in grief [as per Jewish custom]. As the hospital staff begins the purification rites, Shumuel questions his wife’s soul and current state of pain.
Shumuel seeks answers through science. After attempting to find answers through higher level learning at university centers, Shumuel decides to pick the brain of a high school science teacher named Albert (Matthew Broderick). Reluctant at first, Albert gets involved in the study of bodily decomposition as if he were trying to win the school’s science fair.
With echoes of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, Albert and Shmuel’s pursuit of science takes them from one bizarre situation to another. Despite being a Kosher Cantor, Shmuel uses the corpse of a pig to determine the actual time of bodily composition, since a pig’s anatomy is similar to that of a human [pork is not kosher].
To Dust is filled with many of these contradictory scenes of the human condition. When a classic black & white monster movie plays on a television at Albert’s house, that somehow feels normal. These little details offset the gruesome subject, making To Dust a humane film in the long run.
As the blockbuster release of Captain Marvel has been revealed, the summer box office blockbuster is fast upon us, with Dumbo set to open at the end of this month. Unique films like To Dust, The Last Resort and Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel will likely be pushed aside. See these unique films on the big screen when you get a chance.