Holmes wouldn't have succeeded it it weren't for elite connections -- including being childhood friends with the daughter of a billionaire Silicon Valley investor -- a brazen willingness to deceive and an economic climate that rewarded such qualities, says Avi Asher-Schapiro. "Missing from Alex Gibney's Theranos film The Inventor "is any sustained effort to understand how Theranos interacted with the larger economic and social forces that nurtured it," says Asher-Schapiro. "In the hands of Gibney, the rise and fall of Theranos is reduced to a sort of personality puzzle, driven by the banal questions like: What was Elizabeth Holmes thinking? Is she a liar? How could seemingly competent investors be so misled? That’s a shame, because the story of Theranos is so much more than that. At its root, it’s a parable that cuts to the central dysfunctions in the American economic and political order, one that should dismantle our notions of meritocracy and put a strict limit on our forbearance for elites. It illuminates how the rich and well connected occupy different strata of life, enjoy a completely different set of opportunities from the rest of us, experience a different kind of justice, and are so often immune from consequences. Though the film gives some glimpses of these dynamics, they are always in the background, shadowed by other far less compelling narrative impulses."
TOPICS: Elizabeth Holmes, HBO, Alex Gibney, Documentaries, Theranos