Thank You For Smoking was Jason Reitman’s first film, and it’s still his best, though Up in the Air comes close. This is a razor-sharp satire featuring Aaron Eckhart in a totally blazing performance as a cigarette lobbyist who will do anything to protect the product that he knows is killing lots and lots of people. Based on the book by Christopher Buckley, Reitman’s adaptation is witty in both a verbal and pictorial sense, with not one wasted scene, while every character is excitingly drawn, and the fascinating comments that it makes about a variety of topical subjects still feels very fresh despite just hitting its 10th anniversary this past March.
Maria Bello, David Koechner, JK Simmons, Sam Elliot, William H. Macy, Katie Homes, Cameron Bright, Robert Duvall, and the absolutely hilarious team of Adam Brody and Rob Lowe all added terrific support, while Eckhart was given his richest performance since In the Company of The Men, which is still one of the iciest movies I’ve ever seen. The film also boasts very stylish technical work, thanks to cinematographer James Whitaker’s bold visuals and film editor Dana E. Glauberman fleet pacing. Cynical, mean, and all-too-true, there are big laughs in this dark comedy, and everything is coming from a place of intelligence all throughout.