Review by Dan Skip Allen
Worth made a splash at the Sundance Film Festival back in 2020. It makes sense with the great cast and story that this film focuses on. Netflix bought the film out of Sundance and it's finally coming out nationwide a year and a half later. A lot has happened in between its premiere at the festival. An early September premiere on Netflix might be just what this film needs considering the subject matter.
Worth stars Micheal Keaton, as a Washington, D.C. lawyer Kenneth Fienberg. Fienberg and his colleagues are tasked with divvying out funds for the 9/11 victims relief fund. This is harder than it might seem. His thought processes on how to disperse the money might not be as easy as you'd think. A deadline and a relative of a victim, Charles Wolf (Stanley Tucci) is an obstacle in Fienberg's way, but a champion for other family members of victims in the film.
Sara Colangelo, the director of this film, is a newer filmmaker. I first heard of her when I was invited to a special remote Sundance screening of her film Little Accidents a few years ago. After watching that film, I knew Colangelo was a director to watch in the future. Fast forward to today and she's got another compelling feature film with great acting and a very good topical story. She knows her way around dramatic fare such as Little Accidents and Worth.
Worth has a tough subject matter to get across to the viewers watching the film. To a lot of people, 9/11 is still pretty fresh in their minds. We all remember where we were and what we were doing on this frightful day in American history. Telling this story wasn't easy, to say the least. Colangelo assembled a great cast of actors to portray these true-to-life characters. Amy Ryan and Tate Donovan are also among the already stacked cast.
There were a lot of talking scenes as in person-to-person scenes in the film. The dialogue had to address the laws involved in how the money was dispersed to each Clement. Keaton and his staff had a lot of the heavy lifting in these scenes. This dialogue had to come across as very realistic and professional in nature. Max Borenstein adapted the book What is Life Worth? written by Kenneth Feinberg. He had the man's words to use and that was a good thing regarding the film's dialogue.
The camera work by Colangelo and cinematographer Pepe Avila del Pino was a key aspect of the film. It could have looked like a bunch of talking heads in a documentary but it doesn't. They change the angles and lighting in every scene to not get too repetitive with these scenes. A few archival scenes of the aftermath of the bombing were thrown in to show the full effect of this tragedy.
Netflix invested its money well this time around. It's a little similar to the 2018 Academy Award-winning Best Picture winner Spotlight, but that's a compliment. They both star Michael Keaton and Stanley Tucci and have a similar look and feel to them. That's why the comparison is a natural one. With very good acting, writing, and camera work Worth is worth your time.
Worth is now streaming on Netflix.