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A Monthly Culture Matrix For the Cosmopolitan Traveler

The Crime of the Century

Premiering May 10 on HBO / Film & TV

If you live in the U.S., chances are you know someone who’s been affected by the opioid crisis, the fierce epidemic that preceded the coronavirus and has so far claimed more than 500,000 lives. Chances are you’ve also heard of the Sacklers, the family behind Purdue Pharma and OxyContin. This new documentary from Alex Gibney (whose past subjects include the Enron scandal and the rise and fall of Eliot Spitzer, both of which earned Academy Award nominations) adds detail and perspective to the story. In collaboration with The Washington Post, which did much of the original reporting, the film traces the epidemic’s illicit origins—the Sacklers and other big pharma companies used bribes and lies to sell their drugs—and its devastating consequences. Among the interviewees are a big-pharma V.P. of sales, the doctors who saw through the phony marketing, and the journalist Patrick Radden Keefe, whose book about the Sacklers, Empire of Pain, is out now. —J.V.

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