Matt Okine is Going to Die

Produced and directed by Christopher Barron

#Humour, #bodydisposal, #science, #endoflifeplanning, #AI, #voluntaryassisteddying, #cemeteries, #organdonation

This documentary special is for you if… you’re new to finding out about death and dying and would like a comprehensive overview of your options, with a dash of humour.
This documentary special may not be for you if… you’re sensitive to humour and scientific detail in your death content.


Matt Okine is an Australian comedian and actor best known for his stand-up and breakfast radio host. He’s also had guest appearances on TV shows like Would I Lie to You and plays Arthur Beare in the reimagined Mother and Son on ABC. Okine has a strong connection and interest in death and dying, having lost his mother to cancer at a young age, and his authenticity is clearly communicated in this program.

In this one-hour documentary special, Okine attempts to cover a wide range of death and dying topics, from end-of-life planning, what it’s like to be a grave-digger, the myriad ways you can dispose of your body, organ donation and even the age-old question, ‘Should I put my ashes in a firework and explode them over a beach?’ 

That may not really be a question most people ask themselves, but Okine does manage to cover a lot in the short time he has available. He utilises experts and scientists and visuals very effectively to convey technical information about a difficult topic. For example, he uses a scale model of himself to demonstrate different body disposal techniques and gets hands-on with a brain donated for scientific research.

Matt is not afraid to connect with the very real human emotions in this space, and a particularly touching segment is his time talking to siblings whose mother chose to use the voluntary assisted dying program in Victoria.

He also explores some more unorthodox and technology-based responses to death and dying. Matt meets with an artist who has created an immersive virtual reality experience for people to experience their own death and tries it out for himself. He also experiments with emerging AI technology that lets people create a text-based avatar of their person who has died using the content that person left behind online. As someone with a lot of recorded content available, Okine creates an avatar of himself and then asks his wife to test it, with intriguing results. 

In sixty minutes it’s not possible to go into all these fascinating subjects in depth. However, Okine brings genuine personal interest in the topic and uncovers just enough to give the viewer a taste for more. His combination of curiosity, respect and light humour makes for a very engaging program, especially if this is your first time delving into the world of death and dying.

Matt Okine is Going to Die is available on ABC iView.

Review by Catherine Prosser


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