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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Merchant of death

"Thank you for smoking" is a very entertaining movie. It is well-written political satire with a very good cast -- reminiscent of "Wag the Dog" in some ways, but probably a better film overall.

Once again, I'm writing about a comedy in which the primary villain is an enormous transnational corporation. The villain is not entirely faceless, of course, as Robert Duvall plays "The Captain" of said corporation, and Aaron Eckhart plays the young corporate flack, Nick Naylor. In his own words, Naylor is the guy you know who can pick up any woman he wants...on crack.

However, "Big Tobacco" is the Freddy Kreuger of this film and the movie does a great job revealing its wicked ways: including nearly half a million American lives lost each year to tobacco-related illnesses and cynical manipulation of words and images to attract young smokers.

There's even a transnational element: Big Tobacco markets to millions of Asian smokers and in the film, at least, is willing to crawl into bed with an abusive third world dictator to pitch its product.

This film was based on a Christopher Buckley novel. I've read several of his other works and must say that I enjoyed this movie more than I liked those books. Hmmmm.

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