The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

( M) LOOK at the eyes that stare out from the cover of this DVD. Their fo­cus and in­ten­sity tell you quite a lot about the sub­ject of this fas­ci­nat­ing doc­u­men­tary. They be­long to qui­etly heroic neu­ro­sur­geon Henry Marsh, who lives a dou­ble life. On the one hand Marsh is a re­spected Bri­tish medico who lives con­tent­edly with his wife in their South Lon­don pile. But in each of the past 15 years he has trav­elled to Ukraine, where he con­ducts a free clinic, per­form­ing con­sul­ta­tions and op­er­a­tions that the fa­cil­i­ties there nor­mally would not al­low. While the scenes of the free clinic may re­mind the re­li­gious of Je­sus in the tem­ple full of thieves, there are no tantrums and no mar­tyrs here, just a doc­tor, as close to self­less as a hu­man be­ing can get, do­ing what he can to save lives in a frozen for­eign land. We meet Marsh’s Ukrainian pro­tege, Igor Petro­vich, who is de­ter­mined to scoop up all he can of the great man’s wis­dom so that he can per­form some of the work on his own in the fu­ture. The depth of friend­ship be­tween the two is pal­pa­ble. Marsh brings with him the equiv­a­lent of drill bits for bor­ing into skulls. They cost £ 80 ($ 181) and are dis­carded af­ter a sin­gle use in Bri­tain. Petro­vich says he has used the same one for 10 years. Then there’s a young man named Mar­ian, who can have life-sav­ing brain surgery but only if he re­mains con­scious through the en­tire pro­ce­dure. Of course, we are in­vited along to the the­atre. Ab­so­lutely riv­et­ing and a re­minder of how high re­al­ity tele­vi­sion can soar with the right sub­ject in ca­pa­ble hands.


Ian Cuth­bert­son

Mad­man ( 92 min­utes) $ 29.95

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