A superior, made-for-cable film, this Home Box Office adaptation of Randy Shilts's chronicle detailing the emergence of AIDS in America and the fight against bureaucracy and society for a cure is a taut, outrageous, and affecting true-life drama. Matthew Modine (Birdy, Married to the Mob) is featured as a doctor with the Centers for Disease Control at the time when the first reports of a disease plaguing the gay community were heard. Modine and his colleagues embark on an investigation that resembles a compelling detective story as they try to track the source of the disease and discover a cure. Their efforts are thwarted by an ambivalent government and a turf war between French physicians and a celebrated American researcher (Alan Alda) who seems to place his own glory above the dead and the dying. Featuring heartfelt performances from a stellar cast including Richard Gere, Glenne Headly, Anjelica Huston, Steve Martin, Ian McKellen, Saul Rubinek, and Lily Tomlin, this impassioned film stands as an impressive and important document of one of the darkest eras in modern human history, and a tribute to the spirit of those who sought to save lives. --Robert Lane
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