In The Event, New York D.A. Nick (Parker Posey) is on a determined mission to discover the truth behind the latest in a series of mystifying, suicide-like deaths in the Chelsea neighborhood's gay community. As she doggedly interviews various friends and family of the deceased, the sad, bitter and tragic truth is disclosed.

Oy, and double oy! Thom Fitzgerald's film is an obviously well-intended, brutally earnest work which nonetheless repeatedly shoots itself in the foot through sheer ineptitude. A large, committed cast go through their various histrionically tortured paces as you in the audience find yourself both fiercely resenting and rejecting the filmmakers' attempts to rend you emotionally. The director and writers repeatedly require you to accept incidents and plot developments which defy any logic of reasonably intelligent human behavior. It's a truly sad film, not just because of its subject matter, but also in terms of its overall cheapness and its distinct lack of success in putting over an undeniably weighty message: When is euthanasia justified?

To unfortunately little avail in these benighted circumstances, Don McKellar plays the dying character, Matt, with admirable courage and honesty. Olympia Dukakis gets to go all out as his concerned mother, but, thankfully, leaves some scenery unchewed. Posey has the looks, energy and aptitude necessary to be an appealing performer, yet a certain stiffness and over-eagerness to please and convince often hamper her performances. All she basically has to do here is ask hard questions in a hard-bitten manner, and even this seems highly mannered.

-David Noh