Review by Camden Ferrell
While the opening of Georgetown doesn’t claim the story about to be seen is true, it is inspired by actual shocking events. Based on the article The Worst Marriage in Georgetown by Franklin Foer, this film premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. It also serves as the feature directorial debut of acclaimed actor Christoph Waltz, who elects the be credited as C. Waltz as a director. Despite an interesting true story, the movie doesn’t seem to care enough about its narrative to make an engaging film even with the great actors at its disposal.
Ulrich Mott is an overly ambitious social climber who marries a significantly older widow in D.C. Using his new marriage and her connections, he starts operating in higher circles and becoming more acquainted with the political players in the city. However, after his wife’s death, he becomes the main suspect as they believe there was foul play. Again, it’s base on a true story that is quite interesting, and it had all the makings of a great movie.
Unfortunately, despite the great story, the screenplay doesn’t do it justice. David Auburn’s script lacks any kind of engaging dialogue or meaningful exchanges. It’s sluggish and meanders, and it doesn’t every really explore the most interesting aspects of the story. It’s not a great foundation on which the film must be built, and it toes the line between forgettable and misguided.
Even though the script isn’t promising, the actors do what they can with the material. Christoph Waltz leads the film as Ulrich, and he gives a somewhat decent pathological performance as he lies his way to the top. Annette Bening co-stars as the suspicious daughter of Ulrich’s wife, and she also does decently, considering how little her character had to work with.
Waltz’s direction seems uninspired more than anything. His scenes and execution lack motivation and personality, and it is a bland product as a result. He doesn’t seem particularly interested in the story or its characters, and it plays off like a television movie.
The movie is told non-linearly. Usually, that’s a welcome change of pace for movies like this, but this movie misuses it. It’s not confusing, but like most things in the movie, it’s plain and doesn’t click. Some of the context and backstory for the character’s is unnecessary, and it fails to do the most important thing in a movie like this: make us feel sympathetic for an unlikeable character.
The movie isn’t aggressively bad, it just lacks an artistic voice that is passionate about this story. There are a few good musical cues, but other than that, the movie seems to lose interesting in itself far too early. It’s a waste of great acting potential, and it is a forgettable debut for Waltz as a director.
Georgetown is a film that lacks the excitement of its source material. Great actors and a solid premise are wasted on bland execution and a final product that is quite forgettable.
Georgetown is in select theaters May 14 and on VOD May 18.