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Smoking/Non-Smoking (2011)

The Pack (original title)
Twelve Angry Men meets Silkwood in a suspenseful feature inspired by true stories, starring Lucie Arnaz (The Jazz Singer) and Elisabeth Moss (Girl Interrupted, Madmen). A young man ... See full summary »
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1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Eleanor Jordan
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Roger Robinson ...
Jeffries
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Adam Roen
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Cassidy
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Anson
William Mitchell ...
Judge Oppenheimer
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Dr. Hurst
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Ingrahm
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Jack Jordan Jr.
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Farrell
Angie Martinez ...
Diego
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Jack Jordan Sr.
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Marc Forrest
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Young Jack Jordan Jr.
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Storyline

Twelve Angry Men meets Silkwood in a suspenseful feature inspired by true stories, starring Lucie Arnaz (The Jazz Singer) and Elisabeth Moss (Girl Interrupted, Madmen). A young man testifies against his mother for killing the father with secondhand smoke. Inspired by documented cases, "Smoking Non Smoking" weaves together the jury's cinema verite style deliberation, provocative courtroom testimony, flashbacks and the family's intimate home movies. An ambitious Assistant District Attorney (Carlos Leon, "The Big Lebowski," "The Woodsman" ) prosecutes a wife and mother (Lucie Arnaz) for murder after her forty-seven year-old husband dies of lung cancer. Their twenty-four year-old son decides to testify against her. At first, this appears to be a ridiculous case, but one juror's doubts (Jennifer McCabe) and inspirations - a student of hers (Elisabeth Moss) force the jury into an intriguing, emotional and complicated choice regarding addiction, loyalty and individual responsibility. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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The Pack is a riveting drama where addiction, love and murder are burning issues.

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Drama

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Release Date:

13 October 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Smoking/Non-Smoking  »

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(Technicolor)|
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Did You Know?

Trivia

was featured in the 2012 Toronto Independent Film Festival and 2012 La Femme LA Film Festival in addition to 10 other film festivals such as Sedona, Northampton, Hoboken, et al. See more »

Quotes

Jeffries: Hollywood is tobacco.
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User Reviews

 
Compelling and frightening, with an important message
21 June 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Pack," directed by Alyssa Rallo Bennett and written by Alyssa and Gary O. Bennett, is a no-holds barred, stark look at the horrors of tobacco use and nicotine addiction. Compelling and frightening, "The Pack" is inspired by true events and dares to ask questions which remain unanswered to this day. Few films deserve the label "important," and this is one of them.

At its center is a portrait of a family torn apart by cancer. Nonsmoker Jack Jordan Sr. (Scott Bryce) has died of lung cancer at the age of 47, presumably brought on by 30 years of breathing his wife Eleanor's (Lucie Arnaz) secondhand smoke. An ambitious Assistant District Attorney (Carlos Leon) brings her to trial on murder charges, and 24-year-old son Jack Jr. (Ryan Homchick) is caught in the middle. The subsequent trial, the role young Jack plays in the proceedings, and the jury deliberations revolve around the questions of who knew what and when did they know it. Unspoken are the obvious political ramifications of the answers.

Arnaz gives a tour-de-force performance as the wife and mother whose only crime was that she was blissfully ignorant (or perhaps not) of the consequences of her actions. Homchick's Jack Jr. is like a puppy constantly on edge from having been beaten by one too many newspapers. The ensemble cast which makes up the jury, veterans as well as newcomers, inhabit their characters seamlessly. To single anyone out is a difficult task. Watch for Adam Ferrara as the maniacal Cassidy, who will not let go of his pro-tobacco stance, and Zach Galligan as Anson, a wide-eyed open book who can play the fool with ease.

"The Pack" cuts back and forth between the flashbacks of the family's past, the trial, and the jury deliberations. If told in linear fashion the film would likely have plodded along at an interminably slow pace. Instead, smart editing decisions placed each jump in time at precisely the right moment, while maintaining just enough consistency to avoid confusion. A careful balance needed to be struck, and kudos to editor Jeff Turboff for pulling it off masterfully. During the deliberation room scenes, cinematographer George Lyon cleverly used slow pans around the table to create a sense of movement where there was none. Occasional jump cuts sliced out the inevitable dead spots. The result puts still life into action -- no small feat.

The look of the film ironically contrasts the carefree days of the family's past with the sad reality of the present. Flashbacks are presented through the use of old home movies, bright and colorful and reflective of the myth we all bought into that secondhand tobacco smoke was benign. Scenes which take place in the present day are filled with blues and grays and give a dull, washed-out appearance, as though the air itself is affected by the cancer which struck down Jack Jordan Sr. The courthouse sets, particularly the jury deliberation room, are as cold and stark as can be.

A bit "Silkwood," "The Insider," and "12 Angry Men" all rolled into one, "The Pack" poses the question, "what if your behavior was legally accepted for dozens of years and all of a sudden it came into question?" The answer is not likely to change many viewers' minds about the dangers of smoking but, perhaps, it will.


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