Film Review by Kam Williams
Headline: Cancer Researcher: Total Quack or Medical Pioneer?
In the 1970s, Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski discovered Antineoplastons, a family of pharmaceuticals which soon met with amazing success in treating cancer patients. One would think that the phenomenal results of the M.D./Ph.D.’s oncological research would be eagerly embraced by both the medical and drug manufacturing communities in the wake of such a groundbreaking discovery.
Unfortunately, this was not the case, ostensibly because cancer is big business, and there are billions of dollars to be made in its treatment. So, even though Dr. Burzynski’s life-saving, alternative gene therapy had better survival rates than conventional treatment with chemotherapy, surgery and/or radiation, he found himself ostracized by his colleagues and accused of being a quack by everyone from the National Cancer Institute to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Consequently, by 1995, he found himself charged with 75 counts of fraud which imperiled his practice and liberty, since he could have ended up in prison and saddled with $18 million in fines. Ironically, while Burzynski’s time was then consumed with defending himself in a 14-year legal battle, competitors filed copycat patents in an effort to take credit for his miraculous discovery.
Is Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski a shameless charlatan or a genius being denied his rightful recognition for coming up with a non-toxic cure? This is the issue addressed by Burzynski, an eye-opening expose’ by Eric Merola. Mr. Merola makes a most-impressive directorial debut with this documentary featuring offsetting testimonials by his grateful patients with ones by avaricious detractors perhaps hiding financial agendas.
So, what’s the truth? This critic is not inclined to draw scientific conclusions based on a movie which might be biased. Suffice to say that the jurors who heard the expert testimony and examined all the evidence at Burzynski’s trial are pretty persuasive when they call the FDA’s case against him little more than a witch hunt.
A bio-pic of Biblical proportions featuring a showdown of Dr. David versus a government Goliath!
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 106 Minutes