"Citizen Bio" (2020 release; 96 min.) is a documentary about the the world of biohacking and related subcultures. As the movie opens, we are introduced to biohacker/free spirit Aaron Traywick, who is found dead at age 28. We then go to "A Few Months Earlier", as Traywick retells of his upbringing in Elsmore, Alabama, and eventually ending up in "Bethesda, Maryland", where his niece and lobbyist gives him a job in a healthcare non-profit. It isn't long before Traywick wades into the biohacking subculture, without any scientific background, promoting various "cures" along the way. At this point we are less than 15 min. into the documentary. Couple of comments: this is the latest documentary from longtime producer (and here also director) Trish Dolman, whose previous work includes "Eco-Pirate: The Story of Paul Wilson". Here she looks at the world of biohacking and related subcultures. Never heard of Biohacking? Neither had I, but we get a Biohacking 101 introduction: a subculture of non-scientists who love to (self)experiment outside the mainstream (without FDA supervision) for major diseases like HIV, herpes and so forth. Is this even legal? Just watch. I must admit, I was taken aback by some of this, and frankly confused as to what the heck was going on for a good part of the film. And what exactly led to Traywick's death? All is revealed in due course. I almost gave up on this film halfway through but in the end stuck it out as I wanted to understand what happened to Traywick. But when all was said and done, I felt pretty much unmoved. It's one thing to want to "stick it to the man", as these biohackers clearly feel, but it's another thing when we are talking serious and major healthcare issues undertaken by non-scientists. "Citizen Bio" premiered on Showtime this weekend, and is now available on SHO On Demand and other streaming services. If you have any interest in biohacking or in shady/edgy healthcare practices, I'd readily suggest you check this out and draw your own conclusion.
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CITIZEN BIO follows the stories of four of America's most notorious bio-hackers and their relationships with Aaron Traywick, self-proclaimed bio-hacker who was found dead at a meditation spa at the age of 28.
November 12, 2020