In order to help everyone, sometimes you need to give up everything.
In Medicine Man, we are introduced to Stan Brock, a British-born cowboy who become an American television icon. However, Brock’s life is hardly Hollywood anymore. Having sacrificed everything, Brock has dedicated his life to bring free healthcare to the struggling American population. By way of his work with Remote Area Medical (RAM), Brock works tirelessly to heal a nation that remains divided by the political aisle, even as countless families lie in the balance.
Directed by Paul Angeli, Medicine Man is a compelling drama that begins with a man and ends with a mission. With its emphasis on Brock and his team, Angeli has found a truly compelling subject. Born in Britain but having immigrated to the US, Brock is a man who is passionate about his ministry and recognizes its importance. Pouring his life into his work, Brock cares little for personal financial gain and even lives out of his broken-down office.
In many ways, he almost seems like a modern-day monk.
But the more time we spend with Brock, the more fascinating he becomes. As a former actor, Brock recognizes that he carries a bit of celebrity clout. However, rather than run from it, he leans into it for the sake of his cause. Brock remains completely committed to healthcare reform yet he seems to understand the opportunity that lies at his feet. By engaging in tap dance of celebrity, he understands that more the more attention likely means more public support for RAM. He knows that his story is unique and he is willing to use it if it’s going to help create platform for conversation.
However, the real power of this Medicine Man lies beyond Brock. Even though Brock’s name is in the title, Angeli put his focus on the larger issue of healthcare reform. This is very much a film that asks the question of how America can consistently put its own people in a position where they’re unable to receive proper medical care.
In Medicine Man, the man is secondary to the medicine.
In the most heartbreaking of moments, we bear witness to families being turned away from RAM’s facilities due to lack of opportunity. While this may seem like an indictment of RAMs incredible work, it is instead a commentary on the sheer volume of people that require help yet are unable to find it. RAM literally helps anyone and everyone that they can. However, even an incredible organization such as this has its limits. In these moments, Medicine Man highlights realities of families who continue to be denied proper health care as a result of government politicking. Instead of just being the story of one man in his team, this is a film that wants to explore health care reform as a national crisis and the things that can be done to heal.
Heartbreaking and humbling, Medicine Man is a powerful example of human compassion. Angeli’s film is challenging and Brock’s dedication to helping others is frankly nothing short of inspiring. One can only hope that films such as this can help create much needed change so that many in need can take their Medicine.
Medicine Man is available as a one-night only event on Tuesday, November 14th, 2023.