(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

WORTH is a film about the September 11 Victim's Compensation Fund, and the work of Ken Feinberg in assigning compensation amounts to the victims' families.

Every year we see films released that tell of courtroom or legal drama. This goes back at least as far as films such as INHERIT THE WIND (1960) AND TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962), and even 12 ANGRY MEN (1957). More recently, we have seen THE VERDICT (1982), THE LINCOLN LAWYER (2011), BERNIE (2011), LOVING (2016), DENIAL (2016), MOLLY'S GAME (2017), ON THE BASIS OF SEX (2018), THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (2020), and THE MAURITANIAN (2021). Even if we limit this to cases involving class action suits (or possible suits) against corporations, we have A CIVIL ACTION (1998), THE INSIDER (1999), ERIN BROCKOVICH (2000), MICHAEL CLAYTON (2007), and DARK WATERS (2019).

WORTH uses two very good actors in a strong and even riveting conflict. Michael Keaton plays Ken Feinberg, chosen to head the compensation fund and Stanley Tucci plays Charles Wolf, leader of an advocacy group, "Fix the Fund", who feels the formulas being proposed are neither fair nor just. Together they strive to come to an agreement on determining damage awards from the 09/11 terrorist attacks. If they fail and a class lawsuit results, it could destroy not only the airline industry, but the entire economy. The whole problem comes down to a deep philosophical issue. When forced to name a dollar amount as the worth of a human being, how can someone actually fairly assign a monetary value on the worth of a human?

One touch that seems unrealistic, but is not, is that Feinberg initially thinks this will not be a difficult task. It is hard to believe that he would not realize from the beginning the can of worms that that he was volunteering for, but in real life he did underestimate the emotions of this event, and has said so since then. The film includes heartfelt stories of victims, survivors, and their families, and may be tough watching at times in spite of its PG-13 rating.

Released 09/03/21 on Netflix. Rating: +3 (-4 to +4), or 9/10.

Film Credits: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8009744/reference

What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/worth

					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2021 Mark R. Leeper