Under Our Skin (Open Eye Pictures)
1. A note to all fellow hypochondriacs: If you’re easily convinced that you may have any disease at any given point, don’t see this movie. With that being said, the message of this documentary about Lyme disease is an important one and should be spread far and wide. But just go into it knowing that the film is, in parts, uncomfortable to watch; being a witness to people as they struggle with the ravages of Lyme disease is not an easy thing to see, especially when you spend most of those two hours thinking, “That could be me up there.” But then again, planting that message in your brain is probably the film’s goal. Mission accomplished; message delivered.
2. Producer/Director Andy Abrahams Wilson is about as committed a filmmaker as they come. Wilson spent four years documenting the lives of Lyme disease sufferers all across the country, ending up with over 400 hours of footage in the process. I have to admit that I felt the film could have been edited down a little, possibly trimming out fifteen or twenty minutes along the way; but given how much material he had to work with, Wilson did a great job of covering a wide range of people and making you care about each and every one of them.
3. Big shocker here, folks: The medical and insurance industries are the bad guys. When it comes to Lyme disease victims, they don’t really care if you’re sick because, duh, sick people are expensive. They even go so far as to say that, most times, the disease is simply just the delusions of its victim. This element of the story could be a documentary in its own right, but it was nice to be able to have a face to point at and scream, “Villain!” Most notably, Dr. Gary P. Wormser (yes, that’s his real name), Dr. Eugene D. Shapiro, the entire Lyme Disease Review Panel for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the North Carolina Medical Board, and pretty much every health insurance company known to man. Of course, you didn’t really need to know all of their names, but I wanted to type them into this review (and include them in the tags for this post) so that Google has an easier time finding their names next to the phrase: HORSE’S ASS!
4. My only real complaint of the film is about the quality of its animation. Throughout the movie, we were shown educational cartoons that illustrated how the disease works, how it moves throughout the human body, etc. The quality was pretty awful and somewhat distracting from the overall quality of the film. Of course, I’m an art school dork, so maybe it wasn’t as big of a deal to non-art nerds. Still, if you’re looking for someone to do quality animation for your film, drop me a line; I know a ton of talented people who will do the work for probably a fraction of the cost!
5. Watch, learn, and spread the knowledge:
Not treatable in two weeks,