out of Five
Running time: 84
A detailed and factual documentary about Africa’s inability to access Western HIV drugs, Fire In The Blood is an enlightening film with plenty to say, though the voiceover is frustratingly monotonous and the score is quite flat.
What’s it all about?
Written, directed and produced by Dylan Mohan Grey, Fire In The Blood tells the untold true story of how Western governments and pharmaceutical companies prevented Africans and people in the global South from accessing affordable and lifesaving HIV drugs in the years after 1996. Shot on four continents, the documentary shows how an unlikely group of people (from HIV victims to human rights activists and global figures, such as Bill Clinton) took a stand against the impossibly high and unfair prices charged by profit-making corporations and saved millions of lives in the process.
In his directorial debut, Dylan Mohan Gray presents a well-paced and informative documentary, which presents the need-to-know facts about the situation in a direct and digestible manner. The many facts presented (such as the fact that 10 million or more died completely avoidable deaths because of Western drug companies and governments) are rather shocking and back up the argument made by his interview subjects, who each offer relevant and enlightening facts and information about the issue.
As well as this, Gray’s decision to speak candidly to a wide range of people who have been directly affected by the situation adds a harrowing touch to the film and some of the clips which show the HIV victims in certain situations are actually rather emotional (particularly, the touching scene showing an Aids victim hearing the news that he has been chosen as one of the people to receive the lifesaving ARV therapy). This is a serious documentary, which at times can be quite inspiring in its reminder of the potential power the human race has to fight back against inhumane and profit-driven organisations.
Unfortunately, Fire In The Blood can often feel quite repetitive, thanks to the film’s tendency to revisit a lot of the same facts. That, along with the monotonous voiceover by director Dylan Mohan Gray, which feels very flat and lifeless, makes the film very intense and suffocating in the viewer’s seat at times. Finally, considering the intensity of the film’s nature, the soundtrack is quite drab and the film would probably have benefited more from a powerful score.
Despite its occasional repetitiveness, Fire In The Blood is an enlightening and occasionally absorbing documentary, with a captivating story and serious argument at its heart. Worth seeking out.
Fire In The Blood (PG)