Not overwhelming for me. But nevertheless an interesting and powerful story
It still amazes me how evolved the documentary film genre has become over the years.
The amount of freedom you can experiment within a documentary has become more noticeable. In this one particularly, you see a bunch of different styles and even story branches.
There is a mix of themes such as topical activism, what can be classified as art, a determination for justice and accountability, a woman's struggling life and the power of family.
The central character I had no idea about and we certainly got a thorough look into her life both as an artist and as a daughter.
It felt very definitive as I felt it gave you the perfect portrait of this person's upbringing and how certain traumas lead to this groundbreaking change in the art world.
I also liked at how they told each aspect of her life in a parallel style. The timings of shift to a different part of her life felt well-timed and gave us a very satisfying conclusion.
This was pretty interesting and while I wasn't overwhelmed by it, I can see others feeling that way.
It's well made, the content and imagery is strong and the central character was not afraid to open herself up to her life story.
Reviewed by paul-allaer8 / 10
One of the very best movies of 2022, period
As "All the Beauty and the Bloodshed" (2022 release; 118 min.) opens, it is "March 10, 2018", and a group of activists is staging a protest at the Met, more particularly the Sackler Wing. We then go to "1. Merciless Logic" as Nan Goldin starts talking about her early youth, and how her sister Barbara commits suicide when Nan was only 7. At this point we are less than 10 minutes into the film.
Couple of comments: this is the latest from well respected documentarian Laura Poitras ("Citizenfour"). Here she brings us a nuanced portrait and assessment of photographer Nan Goldin, best known for documenting the NY underground scene in the 70s and 80s. At the same time Poitras looks back at the mysterious suicide of Nan's sister Barbara in 1965. And last but not least, Poitras follows Goldin and other members of the activist group P. A. I. N. in their attempts to hold the Sackler family which owns Purdue Company, manufacturer of Valium and Oxycontin, responsible for the opioid crisis in this country (Goldin herself is a survivor of Oxycontin addiction). The beauty of this documentary consisting of 7 chapters is how these three subjects are woven together, with Goldin herself narrating much of it. I was absolutely fascinated by it all, and I am already going on record that this documentary is a shoo-in to get a Best Documentary Oscar nomination.
"All the Beauty and the Bloodshed" premiered at last Fall's Venice Film Festival to immediate critical acclaim, winning the festival's top prize along the way. It is currently rated 93% Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and for very good reasons. I see a LOT of documentaries, and surely this is one of the very best, if not THE best, documentaries of 2022, and also one of the very best movies of 2002, period. The documentary opened this weekend at my local arthouse theater here in Cincinnati. The Tuesday evening screening where I saw this at was attended very nicely (I counted about 25-30 people). If you like a top-notch documentary, I'd readily suggest you check this out, and draw your own conclusion.
Reviewed by dorothybishop-129118 / 10
Read the book, then see this film
I read the review by CinemaSerf and had similar reaction: I had expected much more of an exposé of the Sacklers. The documentary assumed that viewers would just take the side of the protesters against Sackler, but anyone with an enquiring mind might just wonder what the evidence was. I was in the fortunate position of having read Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe, which does a thorough and gripping account of the origins of the Sackler family and all their dodgy dealings, pushing opioid drugs to physicians, and recommending alarmingly high doses while arguing that only certain types of people got addicted. Once you have that background, any doubts about Nan Goldin's activism are dispelled, and you look in awe at what she's done. In effect, this film, which is quirky and relies mainly on vision and sound rather than words to convey messages, complements the scholarly verbal account in Empire of Pain. The Sackler story is only part of it - it sits in the context of Nan Goldin's remarkable life and career as photographer documenting the underground life of unconventional people after she escaped her dysfunctional family. It's an important film documenting an era in history, and showing how individuals can take on the rich and powerful. Nan features in Patrick Radden Keefe's book, and he features in her film, but I think that if you put the two together, it's perfect and the whole is greater than the parts.