Jason Brady is a hot crusading Montreal TV reporter who learns of the biggest story of his career. A female social worker shows him the carnage happening to children due to the criminally negligent behaviour of a corporation concerning their handling of a deadly chemical called B.A.P. As he investigates, he finds that not only does he have to face the corporation's underhanded efforts to silence him, but also the turmoil with his own family as he gets so emotionally involved in the story and the social worker that he is alienating his wife. Eventually, events lead to a point that forces him to make sacrifices he could not anticipate. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Robin Spry's ONE MAN predates several other films made about the effects of factories poisoning the communities that surround them, and it still stands up well as a strong thriller. Len Cariou gives a good performance as a headstrong TV news journalist whose investigating of mob warfare in Montreal brings him to a local hospital one day. It is there he meets a young social worker (Carole Lazare) who points him in the direction of a potent story nobody seems to care about: the alarming child mortality rate in a community surrounding a large factory. The company that owns the factory denies any level of responsibility, but as the investigation deepens lives become seriously jeopardized. The film's resolution was not one that I had predicted, and is more in line with a 70's sense of pessimism.
ONE MAN was produced by the National Film Board of Canada (and it is available on VHS through them), and benefits both from an intelligent script and sharp direction by Spry. Cariou's character evolves in different ways during the course of the film; he's a flawed hero who is guilty of bad judgement and moral mistakes, but ultimately seeks redemption in the truth. There is also a pleasing performance by Jayne Eastwood as his increasingly bitter wife, and some interesting work by veteran actor Barry Morse as the head of the factory.
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