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All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
Engaging depiction of the fight against the Sackler family, though the Nan Goldin life and career retrospective slows down the rest of the film.

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Release Date: November 23, 2022
Runtime: 02:02
Synopsis:
Follows the life of artist Nan Goldin and the downfall of the Sackler family, the pharmaceutical dynasty who was greatly responsible for the opioid epidemic’s unfathomable death toll.

Photographer fights the Sackler family's role in the opioid crisis in . Nan Goldin is a renowned photographer known for her work with L.G.B.T.Q. subcultures and her ongoing slideshow exhibition, “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency.” In 2017, Goldin founded the advocacy group P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) to spread awareness about the ongoing opioid crisis. The main target of P.A.I.N. is the wealthy Sackler family, who have made countless museum donations using money earned by their company Purdue Pharma, which introduced the opioid-based prescription drug oxycodone to the marketplace in the mid-1990s.

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed Synopsis

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is a documentary directed by Oscar-winning documentarian Laura Poitras (Citizenfour). The main story of the documentary involves the activist activities of photographer Nan Goldin and her group P.A.I.N., who are trying to make the Sackler family accountable for their role in the opioid crisis, which Goldin herself is a survivor of. The film also uses photographers and archival material to tell the story of Nan Goldin's multi-decade-long career.

My Thoughts on All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is almost two documentaries in one since it is both about Nan Goldin's advocacy group P.A.I.N. and their fight against the opioid crisis and goes into detail about Goldin's career, with the film as a whole divided into seven chapters. As the retrospective sections of the documentary consist solely of Goldin's voice-over interview accompanied by various photographs and archival footage, these sections of the film come off as more monotonous than the rest of the documentary.

Indeed the more engaging elements of All the Beauty and the Bloodshed are P.A.I.N.'s fight against the Sackler family, who for decades have the philanthropic donations to museums using money earned from their pharmaceutical companies. More specifically, the introduction by Purdue Pharma of the painkiller drug oxycodone has led to an epidemic of opioid addiction, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths every year.

The goal of P.A.I.N. is to not only end the stigma of drug addiction and give opioid addicts access to safe injection sites but also hold the Sackler family accountable for their role in the crisis. This includes having protests at museums featuring wings named after the Sackler family to try and pressure the removal of their name.

It does seem that Laura Poitras added the retrospective of Nan Goldin's life and career to fill out the main plot of the documentary. While not a bad thing to do, I wish the film's structuring was different since the film frequently puts a pause on the main action to tell another chapter of Nan Goldin's life. All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is still a documentary worth checking out.

Trailer for All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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