Foreign & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video ">
Reviews of Recent Independent, Foreign, & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video
Thereís hardly any scene more compelling than this documentaryís introduction, where a father recounts how Dr. Stanislaw Burzynskiís treatments provided the only signs of hope his four-year-old daughterís battle against terminal cancer. Unfortunately, the film goes downhill from there because thereís really nothing more gripping than the beginning. The rest of this profile about Dr. Burzynskiís controversial yet anecdotally effective genetically centered cancer treatment plays out like a flaccid PowerPoint presentation.
Donít get me wrong. Houston-based Dr. Burzynskiís novel
nontoxic cancer treatment and the testimony of those cured by it are
moving to watch. But after the treatment primer, the rest of the
film focuses on the David vs. Goliath battle between the good doctor and
the medical establishment that wants to quash his unorthodox cure. This
convoluted fight is told in a style that is visually inert (highlighted
transcripts on the screen are read aloud) and worse yet, boring. The
outcome is never really in question, and the film ends up being about
the power of Big Pharma and its stranglehold on the Federal Drug
Administration. Too bad thatís the least gripping aspect of Dr.
Burzynskiís story. We never really discover the effectiveness of his
treatments when scrutinized by peer review, nor do we have any
explanation of why such an alleged effective cancer treatment hasnít hit
the mainstream (Hello, Oprah?). The film leaves too many critically
unanswered questions wrapped in a mind-numbing package of information,
ultimately its fatal flaw.