You know, it's been awhile since I watched a documentary. Fortunately I just finished one called Burzynski, the Movie - Cancer Is Serious Business (2010) on Netflix instant play. I am not sure I was in the right frame of mind to view this particular film because I was exhausted and not sure my brain could follow all the information it spelled out. However, after watching the first 30 minutes, and getting over the fact that it felt like I was watching an infomercial, I realized I pushed my tiredness aside and focused - hard. What an unbelievable story and it made me mad. You'll see why.
Burzynski is a documentary about Ph.D biochemist, Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski, a Polish doctor who lives in Texas and who discovered an actual "cure" for certain types of cancer. Sounds fascinating and you expect it's going to be about all the wonderful stories and how he cured so many patients, right? Well, that is partially true. The beginning is about that. Then the story leads you to how he has to prove it over and over again to certain doubters but it gets worse. How, you ask? Well, the US Government, specifically the FDA, Texas Medical Board and NCI (National Cancer Institute), along with several other biochemists all battled Dr. Burzynski and his gene-therapy drug treatment. Why did they do this? Well, it's simple. I bet I don't even need to say it, do I?
As I stated, the first 30 minutes of the documentary played like an infomercial but it was very important information to relay to the audience. Dr. Burzynski treated one of the worse type of cancers - brain - and mostly within the demographic that had nearly 99% chance of dying: children. Your heart strings will be pulled - especially at the opening scene.
After that the rest of the film documents the trials, indictments of Dr. Burzynski, the gene therapy in question, the protocols not used properly by others, the theft of the treatment and so much more. Sometimes it was hard to keep up with the jargon because it was a lot of medical or litigious speak; but the filmmakers did an excellent job at making their point. I will say I actually spoke out loud at the screen as each attack came against this man. It started to become laughable at why the FDA was doing this but absolutely heartbreaking as well.
At the end of the documentary information is provided about who was involved and what happened to some of the ones who fought against Dr. Burzynski. I just had to shake my head at that, but after the credits rolled the last three words that came up struck me with dread. I wonder if you will have the same reaction.