The Final Member is the most charming, endearing penis documentary of the year. Well, it’s probably the only one, but that doesn’t make it any less of a charmer. At a short running time of only 75 minutes it gets in and out, quick and to the point. The film starts with introducing us to Sigurour Hjartarson, an Icelander who owns the world’s only penis museum, and has been building a collection of penes from every animal he can get a hold of. Unfortunately, there is one animal penis his museum is lacking – man. From here we follow Sigurour’s search for any man who is willing to submit his penis to the museum, and are introduced to a two possible contenders; Pall Arason, an old Icelandic explorer who is somewhat of a celebrity in his country, and a middle aged American named Tom Mitchell. The documentary splits between following the the three men as we see what compels them to run/donate to the museum.
It’s an interesting subject filled with many colorful characters. Sigurour Hjartarson is surprisingly normal and funny for a man obsessed with penis collecting and Pall Arason’s motivation makes sense due to his background an adventurer and explorer, but it’s the American Tom Mitchell who is the strangest presence on screen. A well endowed man, Tom has grown an unsettling obsession with his member. He spends his free time dressing it up in costumes, writing silly comic books where his penis is a superhero, hiding out in his delusional fantasies where the world mesmerizes over his penis hanging at Pall’s museum, and sending out rude emails to the understandably exasperated Hjartarson. It’s easy to empathize with Hjartarson, who is only able to put up with so many emails from Tom about his penis. When Tom learns that the old Iclandic adventurer Pall Arason is getting older and may soon pass away – thereby having his penis officially donated to the museum – Tom decides he wants to have his removed before death so that he can be the first. Such passion and dedication could surely be put to better use for the man, but he’s determined to have his penis on display for the world to see. It’s fascinating watching what this man will do to have a piece of himself hanging on a wall. From getting a tattoo of an american flag (close your eyes if you’re squeamish), to hiring a man to design the perfect, long lasting display case, no expense is too much for Mr. Mitchell’s prized possession. The film is extremely comedic, and every person is worth listening to – especially the crazy ones. Some of the sentences that come out of Tom’s mouth are so surreal and hilarious you can’t believe he’s being serious. But there’s no irony in his voice, even as he tells the man tattooing his penis that this tattoo will be the most important artwork he will ever do in his life. I recommend the film to anyone who likes documentaries, especially weird ones.
The Final Member is now available via VOD from Drafthouse Films.
Author: Mark Crowell
Mark is a reviewer and intern for Cinedelphia and is a film student currently studying film and video in the directing program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. He loves watching/writing/talking about film. Follow him on twitter: twitter.com/marklcrowell