At the height of his stardom, the world's biggest pop star, Michael Jackson, began long-running relationships with two boys, aged seven and ten, and their families. They now allege that he sexually abused them.
In 1980 New York, three young men who were all adopted meet each other and find out they're triplets who were separated at birth. But their quest to find out why turns into a bizarre and sinister mystery.
The film's producer met with Elizabeth Holmes early in development, before criminal charges were filed, to determine whether she could be interviewed for the film. Ultimately the director decided he wanted to portray how Holmes carefully crafted Theranos and her own image to be seen by the public, up until the story unraveled. Accordingly, aside from brief footage from her deposition, all footage of Holmes seen in the film is from archival material from before she was charged, most of it her own commissioned promotional video for Theranos. Alex Gibney remarked "She made the documentary she wanted me to invest in and I used it to a different purpose." See more »
I had read John Carreyrou's fine Wall Street Journal articles, as well as his thrilling book, Bad Blood, before seeing this documentary tonight. The first half of the documentary seems almost worshipful of Elizabeth Holmes, building up her mystique and putting her unique ability to attract doting followers to her message on display. Quite a lot of time is spent gazing into those big blue, unblinking eyes. By the time we get around to the cracks in the facade, we are more than an hour into the film. It is inevitable that a lot of important background was left out: the climate of constant firings that went on for years, the fact that Sunny and Elizabeth met when he was 38 (and married) and she was 19, that Elizabeth's dad had been a VP at Enron, etc. Mostly I would have appreciated a little more specific information on why the Edison machine failed. The examples given in the film don't seem that unsolvable, but I know from the book that there were some basic issues that simply couldn't be dreamed away owing to the tiny sample sizes from the finger pricks.
Tyler Shultz comes off as a happy-go-lucky guy, but in fact he is one of the heroes of this story. It is not mentioned in this film, but not just his grandfather former Secretary of State and Theranos board member George Schultz, but also his parents flipped out when he told them he was quitting the company. His bravery in standing up for his values is truly admirable in one so young, especially considering the immense pressure he came under. To his parents' credit, they came around and ended up mortgaging their home to pay his legal bills.
Ultimately, though, the story gets Elizabeth right: she is a zealot who is deaf to any naysayers, even to this day. The cautionary tale for the rest of us, is are we George Shultz or Tyler Shultz? Are we willing to see the truth and make a difficult decision, or are we too invested to be willing to give up on something we had believed in?
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