3 Billion and Counting Plays the Blame Game


3 Billion and Counting
Directed by D. Rutledge-Taylor
Opens September 17
Quad Cinema

"The death toll is mounting," shrieks the tagline of this dawdling, hysterical documentary that may as well be named Every 12 Seconds a Child Dies From Malaria, and Why Haven't You Done Anything About It? Produced and directed by our onscreen tour guide Dr. D. Rutledge-Taylor—a concerned if dramatically self-righteous L.A. physician with an anti-aging medical practice—the film investigates the mosquito-borne disease responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths each year. As the doc and his team globe-trot around Africa, India, and the U.S. to visit doctors and clinics, politicians and experts of questionably one-sided agendas (a piece of statistical data is sourced from a "serious scientist"), the doc's smoking gun reveals itself to be the 1972 ban of DDT, a controversial pesticide that has proven an effective weapon against malaria. Perfunctorily shot and edited, the project hinges only on Rutledge-Taylor's findings, which begin to raise eyebrows once pragmatic activism is thrown out the window in favor of the blame game. Nixon-appointed EPA head William Ruckelshaus gets compared to Hitler, Silent Spring author Rachel Carson gets vilified, and even President Obama is scolded while the filmmaker—who co-wrote the original Debbie Gibson song in the closing credits—smugly eats a bowl of berries sprinkled with DDT.

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If the Environmental movement did not fight for and get the DDT ban, then show us. If malaria does not kill millions of brown children all over the Third World, then prove it. If the ban was not put in place against the advice of the EPS's scientific panel, then point us to the evidence. Don't complain that a film has made sensational charges if they happen to be true.


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