GREEN LIGHT. Australia, 2019, 73 minutes, Colour. Directed by Ned Donohoe. Rated M (Mature themes and coarse language).
The action in this film was shot in the first part of 2018. It places itself as a contribution to the ongoing discussion about medicinal marijuana, and issues of public opinion, Australian legislation, availability of prescriptions and supply, the risks to those involved in supply, especially prospect of prison.
The advantage of the film in alerting the public at eliciting some interest and sympathy is the choice of the two central characters, Luke and Nick, who explain how they felt some call to help other people, have been able to produce the two strains of medicinal marijuana and their being able to supply. They are shown to be on call 24/7, phone calls and texts from seriously ill people, their families and carers.
And the advantage in seeing Luke and Nick is that the early part of the film introduces them well, ordinary blokes, one might say, Luke with a son, Nick with three daughters and a pregnant partner. They listen. They are sympathetic. And, while trying to be emotionally balanced, have great empathy with those they deal with. At one stage they remark that the dealer is the healer!
The choice of those in need is very varied but elicits both shock and compassion from the audience. There is an elderly man with an extraordinary growth covering the one side of his face. There is a dwarf who suffers from the most fragile of bones, continually fracturing. There is a young child with cancer. There is a martial arts instructor who also suffered from cancerous eruptions.
The audience is in no doubt that these men and women are certainly in need of some kind of medicinal and psychological and emotional solace and that the use of the medicinal marijuana provides this – but also seems to provide in many cases movements towards healing. And, for human interest, they also treat a horse with a growth on its nose, see its treatment, its improving – and an exhilarating ride for Nick.
What makes the men’s dedication even more significant is that they both explain how they had severe drug problems in their own lives, which challenged them, and they decided that they did have a call to healing others.
Different views are expressed about issues of law and legislation, some glimpses of meetings to discuss these issues, the continued tension as the two men go on their rounds. (And a great deal of scenes of nature and beauty.)
So, we have a topical documentary working on stories of real people rather than just simply analysing information, facts, issues of health, of law and politics.
Released October 10th
Peter Malone MSC is an Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.