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Georgetown Movie Review (2019)

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Georgetown was created based on a true story about fraud and murder among the wealthy elite in Washington D.C. While it does provide an interesting perspective on how these crimes were committed, it lacks an explanation as to why these people felt the need to commit them in the first place. Even people with money and significant accomplishments can fall for scams. Just because someone is wealthy or has a good job doesn’t mean they can’t be taken advantage of.

Even the parts of the murder that are clear to us do not reveal who the main character is. We understand what led up to the murder, but we still do not know everything about him. His background remains a mystery, and we question why he was unable to keep control before things spiraled out of hand.

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Georgetown Movie Review

“Georgetown” excels in depicting Washington culture than it does in creating genuine characters. I, a long-time Washington resident, can confirm that the film captures the Bermuda Triangle of Washington life well: people move back and forth between the three main sectors: powerful people, individuals who attempt to influence them, and journalists who write about both. We see the humblebrags, dinners, and the clever employment of Washington-famous names, all of which are as though we’re playing a game of Battleship. People in Washington use acronyms and refer to obscure events, legislative and regulatory proposals, government programs, and persons. The dynamic nature of the political cycle can make even its most experienced denizens vulnerable to newcomers who tout impressive resumes. Remember the story of the boy who cried wolf? No one wants to appear out of touch, so Washingtonians and would-be luminaries forget to ask basic questions like “Who are you again?”

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“This story is not claiming to be the truth,” we are told at the beginning. “However, it is inspired by actual events.” These events were about Viola Herms Drath, a journalist from Washington DC who was born in Germany. She also wrote books and advised public figures such as George H.W bush. she married Albrecht Gero Muth who was 44 years younger than his wife and he claimed to have credentials including being high up in the Iraqi army. However, he was convicted of murdering her in 2014.

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In the film, Vanessa Redgrave portrays Elsa Breht, a Georgetown writer and journalist, while Christoph Waltz plays Ulrich Mott, a Capitol Hill intern who gets fired after being forced to work for free. After Elsa’s husband dies, she is inconsolable until Mott (as she addresses him) enters her life. At first, she is amused by his attempts to improve his social standing and advance politically. She even encourages him and gives him advice on who to talk to. But when she discovers he has been lying to her as well, the story changes.

The film is organized into sections, each with a title like an item on Mott’s resume. In one scene that takes place in the past, we see him as a 50-year-old intern working on Capitol Hill. His typical duties involve giving tours of the historic building to constituents who are important to his bosses. During these tours, he tells them (incorrectly) that they’re not allowed to take photos because of “national security.” By deliberately lying and making himself look like someone with special knowledge about classified information, he starts establishing himself as an insider. He’s quickly fired, with the classic “not a good fit” excuse, though at first he thinks it means he’s being promoted to a policy position. This shows us his tendency toward grandiosity. On the way out of the office, he steals his boss’ ID, which gets him into Washington D.C.’s biggest night -the White House Correspondents’ Dinner- unaffectionately known locally as the Nerd Prom. Mott’s goal is to make himself a part of Brecht’s life in any way possible, as seen by the chapter titles “The Butler,” “The Diplomat” and “The Embed.” Bening plays Brecht’s daughter who becomes anxious when she finds out about Mott. She tries to convince her mother that it would be better if she found an escort that was older and more experienced. However, Breht replies “They’re old and boring. Mott is young and interesting.”

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Waltz is a good fit for the role, whether his character is ingratiating or finding it harder and harder to maintain the calm and capable persona he so desperately wants to be and be seen as. But David Auburn’s script is more interested in the culture of the title neighborhood than insight into the characters’ lives. Bening as Breht’s daughter and Corey Hawkins as Mott’s frustrated defense attorney are barely permitted to make an impression. Ultimately that is also the fate of the film.

Trailer

Film Credits

georgetown movie review

Director

Christoph Waltz

Writers

David Auburn, Franklin Foer (based on the article ‘The Worst Marriage in Georgetown’)

Stars

Christoph Waltz, Vanessa Redgrave, Annette Bening, Corey Hawkins, Laura de Carteret

4/5 - Movie Rating!

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