Do you know what the last meal was for Ted Bundy? How about John Wayne Gacy? There is a new short documentary that shares that information and offers more food for thought (pun intended).
Last Meal by Australian filmmakers, Marcus McKenzie and Daniel Principe was part of Tribecca Film Festivals Virtual films. Their synopsis:
This documentary hybrid interrogates capital punishment through death row inmates’ final meal requests. Through mesmerizing cinematography, food becomes a larger-than-life symbol to explore the life and crimes of incarcerated individuals sentenced to death. This captivating film unveils the neglected truths of execution and legal justice.
I watched it and was able to interview McKenzie and Principe.
The beginning of the 18-minute documentary shares the details of notorious serial killers’ last meal requests. The vibrancy of the colors, sounds, and overall presentation of each meal could make your mouth water. Then it hits you, why you are looking at delicious ice cream or steak, or that steaming hot cup of coffee and your stomach turns.
The documentary shares the realities: that the last meal request is not always granted or that people who were executed were found innocent after DNA testing became more advanced.
The documentary wants you to question, is the death penalty really a deterrent? It shares that, in the last 20 years, the murder rate has significantly risen in states that still have the death penalty.
Of course, I asked them, what would be your last meal? McKenzie explained that he probably wouldn’t be able to stomach it if he really was on death row. A loss of appetite was explained as a common occurrence for many death row inmates in the documentary.
Principe did share that he is Italian so probably he would request a lasagna. I shared that I would want my aunts tachin, a Persian chicken and rice dish.
As we neared the end of our conversation, I asked the filmmakers what they hope audiences get out of this, McKenzie said,
“Just trying to start a conversation and hopefully get people thinking, ‘Well maybe this death penalty thing, there’s a reason they’ve got rid of it in nearly every country.’”
The documentary is short but impactful and I found myself bringing it up to multiple friends. So please, check it out and start this conversation. Learn more on their website: https://www.lastmealmovie.com/
Watch the trailer here: