3 Billion and Counting Plays the Blame Game


“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.