SXSW 2018: Take Your Pills
A prevalent cause for concern in the medical community for several decades now, the use of amphetamines has been something so commonly discussed out in the open that it has become normalized for many. Documentarian Alison Klayman (Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry) tackles this issue head on in Take Your Pills - which revolves around how the drug has changed and metamorphosized over time, and where its use stands within the modern climate.
Klayman interviews a range of individuals from all sides of the issue; from noted medical professionals attempting to utilize the drug to its best outcome, to various young people who have been both helped and disadvantaged by its effects. This approach is where the film works best, as a very broad range of voices are included, each with their own specific take on how their lives are for better or worse with amphetamines in their lives.
The most common format of amphetamines discussed in the doc is Adderall, and a great focus is presented onto those who take it for an increased ability to focus and maintain productivity. In high-octane vocations such as extreme sports and coding, which require a higher level of brain power and intellect, the drug can be beneficial, though the aspect of personal dependency and the dangers that lurk are predominant, as seen in numerous examples of people who nearly lose their lives over the addiction.
A cursory analysis of this is presented, though if you’re looking for a thought-provoking, scientifically-induced inquiry into the subject matter, you won’t find it here. Regardless, Take Your Pills can be seen as an alarming call-to-action for a substance which many take without thinking about the consequences they may be trapping themselves within. It also covers the role that major pharmecutical companies have played over the years, in using many young students and others as guinea pigs for testing the strength and potency of amphetamines, wrapped in a positively-sounding yet seedy form of presentation without regard for the long-term effects.
Take Your Pills is definitely worth watching for anyone wishing to understand more about contemporary Adderall usage, though at a 86 minute runtime, it only scratches the surface of the issue at hand. It can’t be understated that the doc holds a very engaging point of focus and works as a great introduction to the essential areas of inquiry regarding the topic. But had there been more time spent on the negative and dangerous aspects of the drug, especially those who have had their lives destroyed through abuse, a more powerful message certainly could have arisen.