Film Review – The Final Member
The Final Member
Men are obsessed with their own ding-a-lings. We fetishize them, brag about them, name them, protect them, imbue them with all of our manly attributes, credit them with our success, insult others, adjust them, play with them, overestimate them, and spend an inordinate amount of time focusing on them. We surround them with this great sense of import to a comical degree. In the odd new documentary The Final Member, we find that this obsession seems to be a truism for men all over the world.
The main character in the film is Sigurður Hjartarson (aka Siggi) who runs the world’s largest phalliological museum in Iceland. He is a portly older gentleman who proudly displays the world’s largest collection of mamallian penises. Whales, Sea Lions, Turtles, Bulls, he has specimens of all shapes and sizes carefully preserved in solution and arranged in a moderately sized building that’s open to the public. The Anthropological point he tries to make is that we treat the male unit with all sorts of squeamishness. However, by bringing it out into the light, he is encouraging everyone to openly examine and discuss genitalia. Basically, it takes some of the embarassment out of it if you treat it openly.
Siggi’s biggest dilemma is that his collection is incomplete. He is missing a specimen of one of the most prevalent mammals on the planet, human. He states that is greatest life accomplishment would be to get a prime human specimen of “legal length” which is over 5 inches. An Icelandic professor reads us an old folk tale of how a woman was able to complain to the authorities that her marriage wasn’t valid because her husband was too small. So the criteria for having the exhibit complete is to get a willing legal donation that is long enough.
There are two contenders for this spot. The first is a famous figure in Iceland by the name of Páll Arason apparently of national acclaim for pioneering the exploration of the snowy northern areas of the country, he is a 90 something year old man who boasts wholeheartedly about his various sexual conquests. He claims to have bedded over 300 women in his lifetime. So he wants to attain fame for his genitalia by immortalizing himself with a donation after he dies. Siggi is excited about the prospect since having something from a celebrity will help his museum get publicity. Meanwhile, a man from the United States, as 60 year old whose been married 3 times himself, wants to have his removed and donated while he’s still alive. He’s not transgendered or anything. He just wants his unit, which he names “Elmo” and writes comic books about, to be famous for thousands of years to come.
First of all, yes, truth is stranger than fiction. These characters are funny and bizarre. They alternate between pathetic and crazy to endearing and understandable. The American in particular seems to be a man who would really benefit from professional counseling. When Siggi isn’t responsive enough about the potential donation, he floods him with emails obsessing about every detail regarding penis display. He gets a stars and stripes tattoo on his penis. He seems like a lonely guy who is trying to get attention.
That is also the fault of this movie. These people all seem like they need help. The movie feels a bit exploitive of these unbalanced folks. No one offers a differing opinion on screen regarding the need for any of this. You get the slightest feeling that Siggi’s wife and children might be embarrassed by all of this, but we get no interviews with them or statements from them at all. Even more helpful would have been at least one genuine female perspective. This is an awful lot of older white men preoccupied with their wieners. I’m guessing not every woman in the world finds the male unit THIS important.
The Final Member is lightly entertaining. It is definitely a profile of an odd and unusual element. Neither penises or Iceland are commonly covered in film. But depth and perspective would have helped this story a lot. It’s all very funny, but not very enlightening.