Documentarian Alex Gibney has got his finger on the pulse of current issues facing Americans...and he also is clearly one of the fastest-moving filmmakers on the planet. It took him no time last year to kick out the pandemic-related "Totally Under Control" and his previous HBO documentary mini-series, "Agents of Chaos," took a deep-dive into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
His latest two-part effort - with Part One airing tonight on HBO with Part Two following on Tuesday, 5/11 - is called "The Crime of the Century" and is a stunning exploration of the Opioid Epidemic...and how it isn't just some accidental phenomenon, but yet another man-made disaster.
Nearly half-a-million people have died from opioids between 1999 and 2016, and the numbers have continued to exponentially rise since. "The Crime of the Century" provides background on the history of opioid use as used in the medical profession, and how it became immensely profitable for one particular family, the Sacklers, the founders/owners of Purdue Pharmaceuticals.
The Sacklers' influence and power led to highly-addictive pain medications like Oxycontin flooding the market, a market in which they entered with very little medical backing or reasoning. The doc alleges that there is fraud, corruption and greed behind the drugs origins, and that the devastation produced in its wake is a crime that's unrivaled in modern history.
Gibney brilliantly weaves in personal stories of how opioids have ruined people's lives, along with the history lessons he provides. There is also a damning deposition from a Purdue CEO and descendant of the Sacklers, who openly admits to some of the allegations of misuse over the years.
Part One draws the outline, and Part Two provides the color. From the questionable beginnings of Oxycontin to more powerful opioids like Fentanyl, these drugs are out of control, with this doc alleging that it is a grand scheme between big Pharma (like Purdue), soulless peddlers and other opportunists looking to get rich with the expense of costing human lives in the process.
It's chilling, it's damning and it's eye-opening...hopefully Americans aren't already too numb from their other ailments to work towards finding a cure to the Opioid Crisis, one of the largest problems facing our society that frankly, is self-inflicted.
Genre: Two-Part Documentary Series.
Directed by Alex Gibney ("Totally Under Control," "Agents of Chaos," "Crazy, Not Insane," "Citizen K," "The Inventor: Out For Blood in Silicon Valley," "Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief," "The Armstrong Lie").
"The Crime of the Century" Part 1 debuts on HBO on Monday, May 10th, with Part 2 airing on Tuesday, May 11th.
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