Michael Keaton leads a cast of character actors in Netflix’s Worth from director Sara Colangelo. Following the horrific 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Congress appoints attorney and renowned mediator Kenneth Feinberg (Michael Keaton) to lead the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Kenneth has the assignment of allocating financial resources to the victims of the tragedy.
Feinberg and his firm’s head of operations, Camille Biros (Amy Ryan), face the impossible task of determining the worth of a life to help the families who had suffered incalculable losses. When Feinberg locks horns with Charles Wolf (Stanley Tucci), a community organizer mourning the death of his wife from the attacks, his initial cynicism turns to compassion as he begins to learn the true human costs of the tragedy.
I still remember being in my second year of college and attending Troy State University on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001. Waking up that day, the only thing on my mind was picking up The Blueprint, the sixth album from one of my favorite rappers, Jay-Z. That Tuesday morning, I turned on my TV to Good Morning America as I usually did and experienced instant horror at what I saw on my TV screen,
The opening moments of Worth recreated the feelings that I felt on that fateful day. Director Sara Colangelo and her writer, Max Bornstein’s film, don’t actually show the planes hitting the Twin Towers or the Pentagon. Instead, they choose to allow the characters to have the same eyes that we do. Michael Keaton leads his cast and delivers another solid dramatic turn following his overly brief cameo as Ramsey Clark in last year’s The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Given that Keaton portrays Massachusetts native Kenneth Feinberg, I felt that he did a great job with the accent. Keaton never comes off as forced or unnatural; instead, it’s naturally organic. Keaton receives assistance from a robust supporting cast, most notably Stanley Tucci, who portrays a formidable foe who later becomes an ally.
One of the things I also want to commend the makers of Worth is the filmmakers avoid any political finger-pointing or conspiracy. Instead, the film seeks to validate that every life lost on 9/11 was significant regardless of background or economic status. The only gripe I had with Worth was that the film does lose a bit of luster around the eighty-minute mark. In addition, it’s also very dialogue-heavy and falls into a slow-burning adult drama genre.
Mohsin Hamid once said, “Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself”. And when the credits rolled on Worth, those sentiments rang true for me in learning about the mission that Kenneth Feinberg set out on and the justice he continues to seek.
Final Grade: B
Worth is streaming on Netflix now.