Inside Bill’s Brain by Davis Guggenheim [7/10]

Bill Gates the tech pioneer was a fascinating character but now that he’s a billionaire philanthropist, are we interested? “Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates” makes the best case that yes, Gates continues to not only do stellar thinking work but can make a difference with his philanthropic billions. Documentary maker Guggenheim tells the tale over three episodes, interweaving his own open-ended chats with Gates (including a country ramble), Gates’s childhood, the history of Gates with wife Melinda, and three philanthropic goals – sewage control in third world countries; the eradication of polio; and the development of futuristic small nuclear reactors. I knew quite a bit about Gates and the childhood-Microsoft strand struck me as fully true. What impressed me is how true Gates remains to his geeky self. He still immerses himself in subjects with panoramic, fully in-depth reading, a tactic I like myself. The few moments of revealed emotion are genuinely touching. Overall, Guggenheim tackles a tough subject with digging empathy and intelligent staging, and I believe this documentary will stand the test of time as an insight into one superb geek’s impact over his lifetime.

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