FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
…the film demonstrates sense of a mission and compassion…
This documentary follows the efforts of two guys who grow and distribute medical cannabis ‘somewhere in Australia’.
One day, (hopefully) what they do will be neither clandestine nor remarkable; in fact, one of them predicts that their work will be superseded – when the supply and distribution is industrialised. For the moment, that seems a long way off and for the sufferers, the societal change can’t come soon enough.
Director Ned Donohoe makes the decision to stay close to his subjects rather than attempting to fill out the back story or editorialise too much. Also, the film doesn’t go into the science in detail, so we have to rely upon compelling but anecdotal accounts of the medicine’s effectiveness.
What is claimed most pointedly here is that the oil (made with high concentrations of CBD rather than the psychoactive THC) is highly effective in the treatment of tumours, and chronic and terminal illnesses. Given that it comes from a natural plant which has been grown (and used medicinally) for thousands of years, it does make you angry that the anti-‘drug’ lobby has demonised/criminalised it for so long.
This is an obvious dilemma for the understandably-biased documentary. It is preaching to the converted (it does not bother to dig up dinosaur defenders of prohibition). Frankly, there isn’t that much ‘action’. It follows the two protagonists as they are driving around and delivering the CBD or answering their mobiles on camera from sufferers or their relatives. The guys need to make a living, so they charge enough to stay in business, but they also give it away for free to those who can’t pay.
They talk about their customers as patients at times and in some cases, it is clear that they are part of a palliative care team. They also suffer the vicarious sadness when they hear that people they are helping have passed away. This is bound to take its toll on them psychologically.
Generally though, we don’t get to know too much about them (family details are sketched in but they also need to keep secret to some extent). They are obviously likable and sensitive, and the film demonstrates both their sense of a mission and their compassion. After the long-awaited, inevitable tipping point comes, they will be seen as pioneers not criminals.