A few days after the twentieth anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, the premiere in Netflix from How much is life worth? It allows us to reflect by looking at everything from another perspective.
Kenneth Feinberg (Michael Keaton) is a lawyer specialized in handling litigation in which everything has a price. In other words, if you have to compensate, you put a number, either for an air accident or for the effects of an agrochemical.
Kenny is also a university professor, and so opens the Sara Colangelo film (The Kindergarten Teacher, with Maggie Gillenhaal and Gael García Bernal). He gives his students a role in a supposed financial settlement problem situation. “This is not a philosophy class, and that question has an answer, a price in dollars,” he says without blinking or fluttering his pulse.
Michael Keaton and Stanley Tucci star in the film about the aftermath of the attacks on the Twin Towers. Netflix photo
The class takes place a few days before the terrorist attack on the Towers in New York, not so far from Washington, where Feinberg’s “law firm” is located.
How to overcome something like that? How is that calculated?
The actor from Tim Burton and “Birdman” “Batman” is the attorney who ran the 9/11 Compensation Fund. Netflix photo
“I am good at this. It’s something I can help with, ”he convinces himself when he accepts the offer of the Attorney General to be the specialized expert to calculate the September 11 Compensation Fund, which the State creates for the victims’ families, but also to avoid the “Industry of judgment” and the economic catastrophe of the airlines.
Kenny is a Democrat, the Bush administration was a Republican, and since no one wants to take on such a responsibility … The important thing is that the families of the victims do not sue. And he decides that he does not want to charge a fee for his services to the government? To the community? To the nation? It will work for free.
Amy Ryan (an Oscar nominee for “Disappeared One Night”) plays Kenneth Feinberg’s partner. Netflix photo
“You don’t know how to lose, Kenny,” the wife tells him. “In this case there is no way to win.”
In other words, Kenny sets the value of the “compensation.” What is the limit? Most of the victims supported their families.
Calculator in hand and listening to opera on headphones, the calculation may seem simple, but it is not.
Keaton appears content, until … Photo Netflix
A finance manager, $ 14 million. Lower on your list, a dishwasher, for example, $ 350,000?
The base will be $ 200,000 per death. The poorest relatives, many immigrants, accept it. But those who charge astronomical salaries, prefer to sue, go to court and wait ten, fifteen years. And, maybe, get paid.
Compensation is calculated based on income. It’s fair? Is one life worth more than another? There is, of course, a deadline for them to accept the proposal. With 80% acceptance, the management is considered a success.
Keaton and Tucci rarely cross paths. But what times. Netflix photo
The director, among so many calculations, humanizes the story and appeals to the testimonies that the relatives of the victims heard and recorded, shortly before they died.
“We are not therapists”, the lawyer tries to minimize the effects of speaking directly with the bereaved. “We must be impartial.”
But the audios from the Towers …
Michael Keaton and Amy Ryan had already worked together on “Birdman” (she was Sylvia). Netflix photo
The character of Michael Keaton, who looks restrained, but not shy, and demonstrates once again his courage as an interpreter, is opposed or not so much the one of the lawyer who lost his wife in the attacks, Charles Wolf, who has led many family members since “Arreglen the bottom”. Interpreted by Stanley Tucci (The Devil Wears Prada), has the best lines of dialogue: he is the one who retrucates, and is usually right.
For some, it’s about winning and not fixing things. “It is not about being fair, but finishing and moving on”, is the terrible definition of a greedy in this film whose title no, has no answer.
How much is life worth?
Drama. EE.UU., 2020. Original title: “Worth”. 118’. SAM 13. From: Sara Colangelo. With: Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci, Amy Ryan. Available in: Netflix.
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On Netflix, what is life worth? With Michael Keaton