A Solid Injection of Heedful Warnings
Amidst the long line of doctors and scientists stating their cases for and against the use of vaccines in the US, three tragic stories of vaccine victimized children are woven firmly within to give startling visual proof of the risks one faces when they decide to immunize their own children. First time directors Kendall Nelson and Chris Pilaro track down the leaders from both sides of the fence, carefully propped them against a mountain of hard numerical evidence proving that immunization drugs aren’t going through enough rigorous testing to prove that they are safe for public implementation, and pair them with beautifully tasteful animations that help convey their message while complimenting the prominent talking heads within this informative doc.
In Middle America we meet our three unfortunate victims and their struggling families. Gabi Swank, once a normal 15-year old high schooler, after receiving Gardasil to prevent the risk of HPV and cervical cancer, she developed a long list of life ruining problems including strokes, seizures, partial lose of sight and much more. Jordan King was a happy, intelligent toddler, but after routine vaccinations developed full blown autism and is now a handful on the brink of becoming a teenager with the behavior of a four year old. Dr. Stephanie Christner’s third child, an adorable baby girl, died at only five months following her second run of immunizations. All three of these tragedies might have been avoided had there been thorough testing done on the vaccinations prior to FDA approval, and comprehensive information available to the doctors and their patients prior to the doling out of inoculations.
Occasionally the film blatantly relies on heartbreaking pathos appeal to sway its viewers, but the in-depth investigation on the politics behind immunization policy and research history is solid, if fairly one sided. Defensive officials from the industry make an appearance, but for the most part their quotes are spliced between opposing views that make them look uncomfortable and uncertain. That said, its clear that the parents and filmmakers aren’t blindly opposing immunizations, which obviously need to be in place to protect the greater majority of the population, they merely would like the current system to be reexamined and retooled, giving people the option to choose what’s best for their own children based on trusted information given to them, rather than being forced to inject mandated vaccinations that may or may not cause serious harm.
Nelson and Pilaro both have backgrounds behind the camera, and their aesthetic flavor they injected into the film feels organic, visually contrasting the chemically involved topic while naturally melding with the source material with simplistic outlined animations erected from a palette of cool blues. It’s a nice touch that is used appropriately throughout to spotlight interesting facts, numerical data, or to emphasize the ridiculousness of a variety of situations. The ever present standard interview clips never feel like they are taking over thanks to the smooth intermingling of representational cartoons and talking heads.
The Greater Good is fairly standard ethical change fare with above average production values, making for a respectable debut doc for the film’s creators. Its call to question the vaccination industry and the legal protection the system currently holds dear for the sole purpose of extracting cash while their sketchy, self tested products are still fresh on the ever changing hot pan that is the immunization market. Our children’s health is at risk either way, and the film urges us to be informed about the options. No one likes a sad surprise.