You know when Disney+ added the Star channel to their streaming service? Like many film fanatics, I immediately made a watchlist out of the plethora of new movies they added. How many of those did I actually watch over the past 4 months? I don’t know, actually. But it was two maximum. About time I got to work on the rest, right?
Thank You For Smoking comes in at a mere 92 minutes, meaning I had ample time to squeeze it in before another shift at my day job. And just like that, we were away! That watchlist better watch out.
The film introduces us to Nick Naylor (played by Aaron Eckhart); a charismatic salesman working for Big Tobacco. His responsibility? To dispel any ideas that smoking is bad for you and to protect America’s right to smoke. Naylor quickly becomes wary of the example he’s setting for his son though, whilst also trying to keep his bosses happy.
In fairness, I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this one… and I ended up being pleasantly entertained by some absolutely brilliant satirical comedy. Not a bad way to start a Monday!
Anyone who’s anyone is in this movie. J.K. Simmons, William H. Macy, Rob Lowe, David Koechner… the list goes on. And they’re all brilliant and so well cast. The biggest revelation here however was Eckhart, who’s always fine but never completely wows me with his performances. However, as Nick Naylor he’s the perfect fit, playing the smarmy, corrupt, charming businessman to a tee.
In terms of plot, it’s a little thin. I’ll be honest, I only came here for the cast and the quirky nature of it all. What the film does have however is some clever comedy and humorous – albeit unrealistic – dialogue, so all in all, I’d say Jason Reitman did a pretty good job with the screenplay. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is what got him the job on Juno, which isn’t all that different in regards to tone when you compare the two movies side by side.
Visually, the colouring is vibrant, stylised and obnoxious, which is very apt considering the subject matter. Though there are other films like it, the aesthetic choices and the cinematography are quite interesting; I particularly loved the handheld camera footage, which made it all feel more seedy and sinister. A nice touch.
Thank You For Smoking isn’t the most memorable of films on the whole, but where it lacks in storyline, it makes up for it with an excellent cast and some truly noteworthy black comedy that will keep an audience on their toes. Unique in many ways and worth the watch, just don’t expect some epic classic and you’ll enjoy yourself.
Thank You For Smoking is available to stream on Disney+ in the UK.
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Overall Rating: ½