The season for big video game releases has slowed to a crawl and the Christmas Day glut of Oscar bait is still two weeks away. In this middle-ground between great games and great movies, it can be tough to find a worthwhile geek release. If you’re anything like me, you’re a dashing brunette. But, if you’re like me in other ways, you love a good documentary. This weekend, the box office will play host to a documentary from filmmaker, Charles Evans Jr. that turns an eye toward one of the biggest, yet tragically overlooked scandals of the last few decades. Beginning December 14th in a limited release, Addiction Incorporated tells the story of Victor DeNoble, a drug research scientist who went to work for Phillip Morris to help create new chemicals for cigarettes. Cigarette companies had a problem. The nicotine in their products was killing off their customers and dead people don’t buy cigarettes. DeNoble and others were brought onboard to help create a product that would be less harmful. Under the contractual cloak of secrecy, DeNoble’s team toiled away at Phillip Morris. Meanwhile, another team was working on a product that would make their cigarettes more addictive, regardless of their level of lethality. In the end, the company went with the more addictive product and DeNoble broke his silence, taking the fight all the way to Congress. Screenings begin this week in New York City with more stops on the tour coming in the later months. For Philadelphia, Addiction Incorporated comes to town in mid-January. In the meantime, check out the trailer below.
From Coming Soon:
In 1994, scientist Victor DeNoble becomes the first whistle-blower to reveal the tobacco industry’s efforts to manufacture “a maximally addictive” product. Charles Evans Jr. tells the riveting story of DeNoble’s journey from research scientist working for Philip Morris (where employees signed secrecy agreements) to star informant – before Congressional committees, the FDA and Al Gore’s Tobacco Settlement Committee – and peripatetic anti-smoking advocate extraordinaire. Evans marshals classic footage: the CEOs of the seven leading tobacco companies who testify under oath that they do not believe that nicotine is addictive; Rep. Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. (R-VA) likening the government’s treatment of the tobacco industry to McCarthyism; the $10 billion lawsuit filed by Philip Morris against ABC. Today, the story continues to unfold: the FDA is requiring that cigarette packages include graphic labels of rotting teeth and blackened lungs, by fall 2012. The tobacco companies are threatening legal action – again.