One of the more eye opening films we’ve seen in a while is John Swab’s Body Brokers. A kind of medically-focused sister to The Big Short, Swab manages two things with his narrative: it is an exposé as well as an autobiography.
Tulsa native writer/director John Swab lived the life portrayed by Jack Kilmer’s character in the film. He similarly got swept up in the true-life business happening in the healthcare world where drug treatment served as a cover for a predatory business, enlisting addicts to recruit other addicts.
This is as wild a story as it comes, and Swab gives us some first-hand insight into it as well as the film’s production. Before we get into the interview, we wanted to share some of the director’s thoughts to give insight into the story.
I was a street junky for over a decade. During my early attempts at recovery, I went through countless rehabs and detoxes all over the country. In that time, I was “brokered” and then taught how to broker bodies. This is the true story of the multi-billion dollar insurance scandal within the substance abuse treatment industry. The FBI recently raided several of the largest treatment centers in Southern California for body brokering and insurance fraud – with more to come. With the opiate epidemic being a central topic of conversation, people need to know about the predatory nature of the proposed solution to the problem: treatment. This is a film about where capitalism fails addicts.
For this podcast, we again join our good friend Bryan Kluger of BoomStick Comics, and talked to John about his life, his love of Oklahoma, working with his wife and close friends, and his mentor Melissa Leo, as well as the impacting message of this film. Enjoy!
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This new crime thriller from Vertical Entertainment stars Frank Grillo (The Purge franchise, Captain America franchise, The Grey), Melissa Leo (Prisoners, The Fighter, Frozen River), Jack Kilmer (The Nice Guys, Palo Alto), Michael K. Williams (12 Years a Slave, “Boardwalk Empire,” “The Wire”), Jessica Rothe (Happy Death Day franchise), and Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures, Ginger & Rosa).
Body Brokers was released in theaters and on Digital and On Demand on February 19, 2021.