Pharma Bro is a documentary film about Martin Shkreli, the Most Hated Man in America. Shkreli lived the American dream. He hiked the price of a pharmaceutical drug, made millions of dollars, bought the only copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, and got banned from Twitter permanently for being a troll. Now he’s a convicted felon in federal prison for securities fraud.
I watched this documentary because Shkreli is hilarious, and the fraud cases against him are fascinating. This documentary barely mentioned the fraud cases, which is odd because Shkreli is in prison for those crimes. The primary focus was the price increase on the drug, Daraprim. Which, I guess, is ok because it’s rage-inducing and is the source of his Most Hated Man in America moniker.
Who knew a documentary about a huge d-bag could be uninteresting? Director Brent Hodge sets out to get to know the ‘real’ Martin Shkreli and decides to do this by… stalking him. He moved into an apartment in the same building, set up his apartment like a serial killer, plotting out where Shkreli was during specific times on his walls using pictures, news articles, all of that. He would purposely run into Shkreli outside the apartment and around the building. Hodge even went to Albania, where Shkreli’s family was in order to interview people, it was all very odd behaviour. Hodge’s filming and ‘directing’ was minimal; most of the film was either Shkreli’s live streams, which Hodge participated in, and weird, comic book-themed animation. The attempted humanization of Shkreli fell flat. Shkreli embraces his villain status, and America needs a pharma bro bogeyman to hate.
Honestly, I should have stopped watching it after the first 20 minutes. Avoid this documentary film at all costs. It’s a strange, disturbing, voyeuristic vanity project by Hodges and was just a waste of my time.
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I’m a Data Analyst, from the land of Matthew McConaughey. I’m an avid movie-goer and love seeing films in theaters. My most recent favorite films are Good Time, Only Lovers Left Alive, TENET, and England is Mine. When I’m not at the movies, I’m either reading or watching obscene amount of true crime and historical documentaries.