The New 9/11 Movie ‘Worth’ Takes a Different Approach With Netflix

Netflix introduced a new 9/11 movie in 2021—20 years after the attacks. But it’s not like any other film. Many viewers know how Hollywood has portrayed the tragedy in its productions. Robert Pattinson’s Remember Me ends with the disaster; Charlie Sheen and Whoopi Goldberg’s 9/11 occurs inside the towers.

Worth, starring Michael Keaton and Stanley Tucci, shifts the focus from the attacks and onto the controversiality of divyying up the victims’ fund.

Michael Keaton star of Netflix movie 'Worth'
Michael Keaton | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Other 9/11 movies emphasize trauma and fear

Many 9/11-based projects received extensive criticism.

Although it was cast aside, Extreme Loud and Incredibly Close was nominated for two Academy Awards. Starring Tom Hanks, Viola Davis, and Sandra Bullock, the emotional film is a child’s point of view in trying to get closure on his father’s death.

Some viewers criticized the movie for its Hollywood-ized take on the tragedy. Others who appreciated the movie praised its spotlight on a child’s journey through grief and self-discovery.

The 2017 action-drama 9/11 pulls audiences into the Twin Towers as the main characters must break free from a stuck elevator. The film garnered low reviews. Like Extremely Loud, critics condemned 9/11 for exploitation.

On the other hand, Zero Dark Thirty differed from most other flicks because it doesn’t concentrate on the attacks. Instead, the thriller reveals the pressure on government intelligence. Nevertheless, many critics thought the Jessica Chastain film glorified the post-9/11 manhunt.

The new Netflix movie isn’t about the day of 9/11

Based on the book, What Is Life Worth?: The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11, Netflix’s Worth asks a controversial question: what is each life worth? Rather than focus on the trauma of the families, Worth reveals the financial aftermath they faced.

Keaton portrays the real-life attorney Kenneth Feinberg. He must decide how to compensate each family from the victims’ treasury find. Tucci portrays the fictional Charles Wolf, who challenges the capitalist and apathetic process.

The Netflix film unravels various perspectives. From family members to partners, every affected person grapples with an incalculable loss. Yet, they have to push aside their grief and explain why they deserve a particular portion of the fund.

The streaming platform released Worth on Sept. 3, 2021.

Michael Keaton tried to be ‘respectful’ for the 9/11 Netflix movie

Director Sara Colangelo discussed her cinematic approach to Feinberg’s memoir, per NPR. Colangelo wanted to reveal what happened to those who went unnoticed.

“I was really touched by, first of all, the story of many undocumented families,” Colangelo recalled. “There were a lot of messy situations in which parents refused to acknowledge the partners of their children. You know, and a lot of these loved ones were there trying to prove that they were indeed part of their loved one’s life and that they should receive something. So it was pretty heartbreaking.”

Worth needed to justify its unique approach since critics accused other films of exploitation and glorification. Keaton spoke with Collider on how he approached Feinberg’s story.

“You have to do the basics, which would be a little intrusive, but also, for me anyway, be respectful, but not hold back,” the Batman star unpacked. “You know, you pick the great parts of what they have to tell you and the less than great, dark parts of what they have to tell you. So, at some point, you have to be…a version of them. Otherwise, you’re trying to do an impression. You can’t really do an impression.”

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