Director: Sara Colangelo
Starring: Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci, Amy Ryan, Tate Donovan, Shunori Ramanathan, Laura Benanti
Run Time: 118 mins
Worth is a legal drama directed by Sara Colangelo that boasts a fascinating premise. It documents lawyer Kenneth Feinberg’s unenviable task of creating a scheme in allocating relief funds to the correct people impacted by those who lost their lives in 9/11. Fundamentally, Feinberg is asked and by extension the audience, what is the value of a life? Should every recipient of this fund receive an equal amount or should lives be valued differently depending on if you’re the CEO of a company or have a low-skilled job?
Most notable for his work in the MonsterVerse with films such as Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla vs Kong, Max Borenstein’s script foregoes kaijus and deftly tackles these tender questions by offering many viewpoints from its range of characters. There are victims of 9/11 that the film explores who don’t fit into the formula that Feinberg meets and he has to ponder how his formula can best serve their plights. The film impressively portrays barely any footage of the 9/11 attacks but the spectre of them loom heavily in the film’s atmosphere that Colangelo crafts.
Michael Keaton gives an expectedly excellent performance as Feinberg. He really nails the balance between his numerical and logistical ability and his struggle with nuance when he is conversing with his victims. Stanley Tucci also shines in a supporting role as an individual whose wife died in the attacks and he leads a movement opposing Feinberg’s planned fund. The scenes that Keaton and Tucci share are particularly of note as they come from opposite ends of the spectrum, although there aren’t enough of them. There is also a silently brilliant performance from Amy Ryan, as one of Feinberg’s measured colleagues.
Worth is an uneasy watch by design but it brings with it a lot of weight and spins a gripping yarn. The performances are the highlight of the film and Colangelo’s delicate direction works wonders for the film as she avoids the emotional manipulation these types of films can have and brings a more understated edge. The film slides into convention in its closing moments and with Feinberg’s redemptive character arc but for the most part, this is a powerful and arresting drama.