Comic film on workings of big-business tobacco industry

Published: Saturday 30 September 2006

Crooked: Nick Naylor Smoking USA

Thank you for not smoking: that's a phrase we come across quite often. By removing the most important word in the phrase, director Jason Reitman has made it clear that his film is an exercise in irony. Thank you for smoking is a comedy about the inside world of big-business tobacco, told through the doings of a spokesperson for the fictitious Academy of Tobacco Studies. The man in question is Nick Naylor: a modern day Mephistopheles. Through the course of the film, Naylor bribes a Hollywood producer into glamourising smoking and speaking in front of his son's classmates to argue for "freedom of choice" with regard to smoking. As everyone around him falls by the wayside, either by dying of cancer or by abandoning Naylor as an irredeemable crook, this central figure does the most appalling thing: he goes scot free, after ruining more lives than it would be possible to count.

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