Lucy D. Barker 6:13 p.m., May 23
Short Takes: Addiction Incorporated
This smoker would like to personally thank director Charles Evans, Jr. for refraining from taking the scare-tactic route. The last thing I need to look at as the morning cup of coffee warms my wheezy bronchi are billboard-sized views of diseased lungs.
Addiction Incorporated isn't ghost-written by the Surgeon General's Office. It's a reasonably engrossing documentary portrait of behavioral researcher — and one of the few living Americans who can proudly boast that he changed the system from within — Victor DeNoble. DeNoble was hired by cigarette-giant Philip Morris, U.S.A. and later became the first person to blow the whistle on the American tobacco industry's efforts to manufacture a “maximally addictive" cigarette. The film paints his former boss in a light normally reserved for Colombian drug cartels.
His goal: come up with a safer smoke by finding a nicotine substitute that didn't leave consumers dropping dead from heart attacks. Instead, he discovered the awful truth concerning the addictive lure of tobacco smoke.The man who knew too much was fired after ten years on the job. His lab was closed and his research work hidden from the world. He told his story to ABC News and in 1994, DeNoble revealed his findings at a congressional hearing.
Animated rodentia do little more than add visual relief from all the talking heads.
AI is your basic camcorder mélange of talking heads, television news footage, and, in this case, rudimentarily animated rodentia to occasionally hammer home the points and give us something else to look at other than giant faces and fuzzy pixels. The film's cartoon Power Point Presentation approach does little but distract from the drama. No need to leave your house for this one. Watch for it when it plays VOD.
Reader Rating: Two Stars