The FILM IN WORDS Netflix Film of the Week: helping you navigate the filmic minefield of the nation’s favourite video streaming service.
Words: Emmett Barlow
A LIFE IN PICTURES
If you plan on staying up till the early hours this Sunday for the Oscars, a prerequisite for your evening of polished celebs, painful dresses and prolonged speeches should be Unauthorised: The Harvey Weinstein Project.
Harvey Weinstein is the man who championed independent films and saw the Hollywood awards season as a free source of marketing. The producer whose film, Shakespeare in Love, beat Saving Private Ryan for Best Film at the 71st Academy awards, and the man who got Dame Judy Dench an Oscar for less than ten minutes of work. Barry Avrich’s 2011 documentary charters larger-than-life Harvey and his demure taciturn brother Bob’s – yes, Harvey Weinstein’s brother is silent Bob – meteoric rise through the studio system ranks – tracing Harvey’s journey from college concert promoter, to smashing Hollywood’s glass ceiling and becoming American Indie’s Moses. Alongside highlighting his lasting footprint on the studio system, Avrich also reveals that even one of the industry’s most innovative and tenacious studio executive makes dreadfully poor acquisitions, the outcome of squaring up to the Disney oligarchs, and the downside of finding fame beside your leading stars.
As a point of entry for anyone who is unfamiliar with the mechanism of the Hollywood regime and Weinstein himself, Avrich’s picture serves as a solid introduction; delving into the Miramax back-catalogue with some intriguing insight from no other than Martin Scorsese – alongside leading figures from Miramax and the American critics circle. However, the film can prove extremely abrasive and awkwardly subjective – a tonal continuation of the director’s filmic biography of powerful Hollywood exec, Len Wasserman, The Last Mogul (2005). Unauthorised: The Harvey Weinstein Project provides a shatter shot insight, but ultimately one which will undeniably change your perspective of this Sunday’s indulgence in gowns and gaffs.