Yet another in a slew of Cancer-themed fest flicks, this one takes another take on the subject through the eyes of a talented yet troubled youth Donald (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) going through his own anger issues as he undergoes chemotherapy.
Donald’s biggest concern is that he won’t die a virgin. Eliciting the assistance of a local artist and therapist (Andy Serkis), the two frankly discuss death as part of a process, the two learning much from one another.
The film does well to avoid becoming saccharine or silly – there’s a darkly comedic thread throughout, and the film earns its tearful moments through great restraint and excellent, often achingly real performances. Serkis in particular is excellent, a real pleasure to see him shine on the screen without the encumbering of a digital skin. Brodie-Sangster’s portrayal of Donald is neither precocious nor mopey – there’s no front to the pain and fear that he’s sublimating, and the film doesn’t hide behind sentimentality.
With the added element of Donald’s use of comic art to express his feelings, there’s a sense of whimsy added to the film. DEATH OF A SUPERHERO, through to its last moments, tells a touching and somber tale that still manages to be heartwarming.