The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019)

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8.0 Overall Score

Just a weird situation all around


Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Inventor:  Out for Blood in Silicon Valley

Studio:  HBO Documentary Films/Jigsaw Productions

Genre(s):  Documentary/True Crime

Release Date(s):  January 24, 2019 (Sundance)/March 18, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

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This machine will revolution science…if it weren’t science-fiction

Theranos is going to change lives.  With its innovative blood testing equipment, Theranos’s creator Elizabeth Holmes has the potential to bring medical help at affordable prices to the masses…unfortunately, it isn’t real.  With celebrity friends and national attention, Elizabeth Holmes is a celebrity of Silicon Valley and the tech world, but Holmes’ world is about to come crashing down.

Directed by Alex Gibney, The Inventor:  Out for Blood in Silicon Valley is a documentary true-crime story.  The film is about the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes and her company Theranos.  It premiered at Sundance Film Festival and was released on HBO on March 18, 2019.  It received a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special.

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Walgreens…another in a long line of suckers

The whole Theranos saga wasn’t on my radar much.  I had heard some of it, and I heard of Theranos.  Like many people, the goal of Holmes is valiant, but the lies and failure of Holmes is possibly even greater because of what she did.

On paper, Theranos is the answer to a lot of America’s health insurance crisis (or at least a Band-Aid).  It is a means to get coverage to a lot of people…and people want to believe in it.  It is part of the reason that Theranos was successful.  The concept was attractive.  The documentary looks into specific aspects that did work, but largely, the whole concept was built on a faulty idea that was even refuted by Holmes’ professor before she started the company.  The worst part is that people started to rely on the success of the company, and it was not giving out sound medical advice.

The big mystery presented by the documentary is that of Elisabeth Holmes.  There are two options:  Holmes is a liar or Holmes believes Theranos can work…either one she has problems.  If Holmes believes Theranos works, it is in her head and she has serious mental problems.  If Holmes is simply lying, she is criminal…either way, she doesn’t come off as sympathetic.  She comes off as rather creepy and uncomfortable.

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Believing her own hype

This is in contrast by the people Holmes surrounded herself with.  Holmes as a young successful female CEO attracted attention, and she seemed to enjoy the attention from big tech and people like presidents and socialites.  In perpetrating her fraud, she hurt more than just the people of her company…she hurt woman moving forward in general.  She was a gold standard in her company, but it was all a fraud.

The Inventor:  Out for Blood in Silicon Valley is definitely a documentary worth seeking out.  It is a story of power and ego and how good ideas can lead to horrible blind spots that can hurt people.  I’m sure sometime in the future, something similar to some of Holmes’ ideas will be possible…but Holmes was too eager and too blind to see that.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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