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Two Movies that Portray Monsanto and Big Pharma Getting Outed by Little Guys
by Paul Fassa
Michael Clayton: Review and Insights
The protagonist is Micheal Clayton, played by George Clooney. As an attorney, Michael is a “fixer” in a large prestigious New York law firm that is representing an agrichemical giant called U-North. It's not by accident you should think Monsanto.
The movie starts with a brilliant, fascinating monologue voice-over rant by the law firm's top lawyer who is defending U-North in a class action suit against them. That lawyer was portrayed with Oscar worthy performance by Tom Wilkinson. His character, Arthur Eden, becomes the movie's focal point because all of a sudden Arthur has seen the light.
U-North is knowingly guilty of the crimes that are part of the class action lawsuit filed by farmers whose families were poisoned by U-North's chemicals, and not only is Arthur fed up, he has the documents to prove they're guilt and he intends to go after them by himself! One complication leads to another as the law firm's owner, Marty Bach, played by Sydney Pollack, starts realizing Arthur is a loose canon that needs to be reigned in.
For that, Marty calls on his fixer, Michael Clayton. Michael has enough on his plate. A Russian mafia loan shark is out to get $80,000 back from the failed restaurant venture Michael went into with his junkie brother. Many other aspects of Michael's domestic life are tattered as well. I'll let the movie show that. But Michael's involvement with Arthur Eden becomes his personal transformation and salvation, as he picks up the torch from Arthur after he's murdered, and soon becomes a target himself.
U-North's lead legal counsel, Karen Crowder, who was portrayed brilliantly by Tilda Swinton, is responsible for the firm's legal matters, which involves contracting out work to other legal firms, one of which is Marty's. So she is aware of their loose canon that could turn the class action suit against them, and she gets involved with getting in through the back door of a high level security company contracted by U-North.
Think Blackwater, now Academi LLC after a run as Xe. Monsanto contracted them during their Xe phase in real life to root out anti-GMO activists and do Monsanto's dirty work as necessary. Name changes were done to leave the Blackwater image behind without changing what they really do.
Things get desperate enough for Karen to tacitly OK the security firm's successful murder of Arthur Eden while making it look like a suicide, and then the contract goes to killing Michael Clayton. But they botch Michael's murder. I won't reveal the ending.
But what I'm pointing out is this really dramatically tense well written and directed film with impressive acting throughout that doesn't rely on ridiculous fight scenes, chases, and special effects, to make unmistakeable references to Monsanto. Not only their toxic effects on unsuspecting farmers, but their nefarious legal maneuvering that's normally hidden from view and their willingness to do anything and get away with it to stay in business.
One gets the overall evil of such corporations with no apologies for them. It's a terrific plot with a great ending that results in a complete character arc for Micheal Clayton. I've seen it a few times. It's that good. And the movie picked up a lot of awards and nominations that year to prove it. You can even view it from here after you leave this site.
The Constant Garderner: John Le Carre' Tackles Big Pharma
What the famous spy novelist Le Carre' says about this film is interesting. He said not one scene in the movie was in his book, but that this movie adaptation captured the essence of his book better than any other adaptation of his work.
That could be because the young Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles wouldn't let the elder screenwriter's adaptation become another Le Carre talking heads affair. While filming he demanded and commanded lots of activity and movement without ridiculous and unreal sequences. Justin Quale, played perfectly by Ralph Fiennes, is the constant gardener. That's his preoccupying hobby as a member of British diplomat team stationed in Africa.
Justin was recently married to young concerned activist named Tessa Quayle, characterized flawlessly by the attractive Rachal Weisz. It's too bad her character is murdered midway through the film, but Fiennes and the supporting cast carry the rest of the film perfectly.
Their marriage includes a pact where she does her activist network business without interference or even without Justin's knowledge of what she's really up to. This makes it easier for her to go underground and find the goods on Big Pharma malfeasance among unsuspecting Africans seeking medical attention without putting Justin in a bad situation. After all, the pharmaceutical company is British and Justin works for the government.
Tessa is murdered amidst Justin's growing concerns and suspicions of infedelity, cast by her secrecy and some circumstantial observations, that lead Justin into exploring her murder and into what she was up to. Soon Justin begins realizing she was innocent of any wrong doing regarding his relationship. Instead he finds she was onto a large pharmaceutical scam resulting in several African deaths.
Justin continues her work out of his love for her and to atone for his suspicions. The plot unfolds with several plausible twists, turns, and revelations that resolve all issues with a poignant ending.
This movie is bold with portraying the pharmaceutical industry's nefarious activities in third world countries. But Le Carre' candidly adds an impressive indelible stamp on them with his statement that appears during the closing titles:
“Nobody in this story, and no outfit or corporation, thank God, is based upon an actual person or outfit in the real world. But I can tell you this; as my journey through the pharmaceutical jungle progressed, I came to realize that, by comparison with the reality, my story was as tame as a holiday postcard. (Emphasis added)
Thank you for clarifying John Le Carre. Duly noted and rather appropriate with what's really going on in Africa behind the Ebola facade as presented by the mainstream media. Find out more about this powerful highly rated and awarded movie and maybe view it from here.
About the author:
Paul Fassa started looking into natural health to overcome his unhealthy lifestyle. Then he developed more interest as he researched his articles for Natural News and Align Life.