This new documentary from Charles Evans, Jr. may seem a little antiquated to some, but is rather informative and startling, especially to those perhaps inclined to take up an increasingly expensive habit.
From watching an unequivocal Addiction, Incorporated the glamour of tobacco usage from its long-standing romantic, heroic times has transitioned to a reality of stiffer regulations. An entertaining piece of cinema verite includes a glimpse of outspoken talk-show host (and cigar-smoker) Rush Limbaugh and anthropomorphized rats in some animated sequences that may be a bit jarring as it centers on Philip Morris research scientist Victor DeNoble.
DeNoble isn't the same person as played by Russell Crowe in The Insider who blew the whistle on Big Tobacco (through CBS News), but now is devoted to spreading the word against tobacco and its addictions.
Through conventional, yet sound use of archival clips and interviews, the filmmakers delve into how DeNoble became a thorn in the side of a powerful industry.
Back in the 1980s, Philip Morris retained DeNoble, from his psychology background, to try to find out how to make cigarettes less of a health risk. Beside reinforcing the enslaving nature of nicotine when lab rats gave themselves 90 doses in a day, it was the acetaldehyde in tobacco which he determined makes them more hooked on a product contrary to the tenets of its stalwarts. Later, DeNoble was dismissed after sending a paper on his findings to a journal.
Committed to the drive and work of DeNoble, the events intensify if at a languishing pace after Congress and the Federal Drug Administration investigated the industry in the mid-1990s when the former voided his legal obligations with his pressured employer. As many probably recall, the hearings in front of Congress had seven tobacco company executives under oath repudiate that nicotine from cigarette-smoking is habit-forming.
Obviously, Addiction, Incorporated will benefit more as an educational tool than as involving cinema, but it does get its points across in a telling way, even if it may be a little irksome as the habit itself as it applauds the efforts of an altruistic DeNoble, as Michael Mann did with more complexity and charge for Jeffrey Wigand.