Available on Netflix.
Written by Max Borenstein, directed by Sara Colangelo, Worth is based on the true story of the development of the 9/11 disaster fund setup to compensate the families of those who lost their lives in the terror attacks. Michael Keaton plays Ken Feinberg an attorney who is appointed by the US government to act as the funds Special Master. It is his role to define the process, rules and formula for awarding compensation to the victims families.
The story is a fascinating one as it asks Feinberg and his team to answer the philosophical question about what is a human life worth. The film doesn’t shy away from portaying the complexity of the challenge both the legal one and of course the human one.
It is the human challenge that has the film at its best, sharing some moving stories of a tragedy that still feels so recent. It is heart breaking to hear those stories dramatised as it is remembering the real events. Colangelo handles this with patience and care.
Keaton anchors the film well and is well supported by Amy Ryan as Camile Biros. But Stanley Tucci steals the show as he often does with his portrayal of Charles Wolf who setup the “fix the fund” campaign to challenge Feinburgs formula and approach. Tucci, as always, brings a gentle gravitas to the character.
All that said the problem with Worth is its formulaic story telling. Hard hearted lawyer, touched by the humanity of the case who finds redemption and adds heart to his process. All predictable and much of it dramatised for the film rather then a reflection of the reality. This also impacts the pacing which is a pity as it detracts from a powerful story.
Worth tells a traumatic story with thought and care, but its formulaic nature and often slow pace are a problem. It is worth a watch because of its subject matter, it’s just a pity it isn’t a better film.