Hot Docs 2022: “Into the Weeds”

Dewayne “Lee” Johnson and his wife, Araceli Johnson, in California. Credit: Photo courtesy of Teresa Ortega and Disappearing Insects Productions Inc. © 2022

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Nothing that we do to carry on with our daily life, routines and the job we do causes harm. Or even worse – cause us a deadly illness. It is just wrong on so many levels. That’s why we should always be informed about certain things we use that might be too dangerous. And if we’re kept in the dark and the worst happens, who will be held accountable for the life-changing or life-altering consequences?

Dewayne “Lee” Johnson, a groundkeeper, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The illness that the doctors suspected were due to the deadly glyphosate herbicides, the Roundup week killer, made by the big agricultural corporation called Monsanto. Despite his fragile health, Johnson sues the company to prove his case in court, if not for the product or the weed killer they have made, he would not have to count the months or weeks he has left to enjoy the rest of his short life.

Directed by Jennifer Baichwal, “Into the Weeds” is a very detailed documentary that pretty much summarizes what may happen to people if there were not warned about products they use either at home or on a farm that is slowly killing them. Through poignant interviews, archival footage and the added court drama, “Into the Weeds” does what most documentaries cannot – paint an image of corruption and a massive betrayal of big companies that rather choose to be dishonest. And when that happens, there is always a heavy price to pay thanks to Johnson’s effort, which will put to test his will and determination to fight till the end.

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