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Stanislaw Burzynski (Photo: Eric Merola)

BURZYNSKI
Edited, Written, Produced, & Directed by Eric Merola
USA. 106 min. Not Rated

 

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. Devanshu Patel
July 5, 2010

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