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Scoop movie review: Rufus Sewell mocks Prince Andrew in Netflix's thrilling apology for the final two seasons of The Crown | Film review news

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Lightly but spiritedly, the new Netflix film “Scoop” excavates a current historical event The crown wouldn't dare touch it, despite his interest in both the British royal family and scandals. From the perspective of a collective of BBC journalists, Scoop traces the events that led to Prince Andrew's stunning disintegration on national television, when he was caught like a deer in headlights while being interviewed about his friendship with convicted sex predator Jeffrey Epstein.

Gillian Anderson plays Emily Maitlis, the long-serving BBC newsreader who, days after Epstein's suicide, found herself in the enviable position of having secured an exclusive interview with the disgraced Duke of York. It was the most-watched BBC Newsnight interview ever, in which Andrew's claim – and by extension the royal family's – was laid bare. It never occurred to Andrew that things could ever go wrong if he tried himself on television. Played with wild ruthlessness by an unrecognizable Rufus Sewell, Andrew was convinced that all he had to do was shrug his shoulders to make his problems go away, as if to say, “I had no idea.”

Also Read – The Crown Season 6 Review: The obsession with William and Kate's romance brings the Netflix series to a disappointing end

But Scoop is no Frost/Nixon, so great Ron Howard Film about David Frost's legendary interview with Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal – the film is less about the interaction itself and more about the backroom negotiations LED in addition. Much of the credit goes to Sam McAlister, a BBC “booker” who, with a lot of luck and her journalistic instincts, landed the interview before the competition. Scoop is based on a book by McAlister, played here by the vivacious Billie Piper, which explains why she gets the most likeable performance of all in the film.

But even though we enter the story from her perspective, Piper only gets “with” credit. Anderson, who only takes up the baton of responsibility during the third act interview sequence, is given the lead role instead. We don't learn much about her, other than the fact that she's dedicated to her job and acts like a cross between Cruella de Vil and Margaret Thatcher, the latter of whom Anderson played so memorably in The Crown. McAlister is an even bigger blank slate. Their motivations are made even more unclear by the authors' strange decision to institute company-wide layoffs. This makes McAlister's determination to pursue the story seem more like a selfish attempt to save her job than an act of altruism.

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However, Scoop is not a character drama. Directed by Crown alum Philip Martin, the film presents itself as a breakneck thriller and is also extremely successful. As the Epstein story unfolds in the background, the protagonists begin to circle Andrew, ready to attack. It's all so captivatingly staged that for an hour and 40 minutes you completely forget how everything fits together. The BBC's pursuit of Andrew was anything but that; he considered the possibility of sitting down for an interview himself without putting up much resistance. He also continually failed to take advantage of the many exits Emily offered him during the interview, constantly tripping over himself while muttering nonsense about Pizza Express and the inability to sweat.

Read more – Review of Season 5 of The Crown: Netflix's once royal series loses all objectivity in the worst season of all time

The film's overall efficiency also makes one overlook the fact that what the BBC had was in no way a real “reveal”. All of the information Maitlis confronted Andrew with was already publicly available. Martin and his writers – Peter Moffat and Geoff Bussetil – do the right thing by including a scene that questions the ethics of the interview. Is the platform for Andrew (for ratings) any different than when Andrew was photographed with Epstein way back when? It's moments like this, undermining other scenes – particularly a finale's victory lap – that bring Scoop dangerously close to being BBC propaganda. The monarchy isn't the only decaying organization depicted in the film – the venerable broadcaster had its own existential challenges to contend with.

Scoop is a nice companion piece to current journalism films set in the USA Aftermath of the #MeToo movement, films like the excellent procedural “She Said” and the more populist “Bombshell.” Each of these films promotes a certain old-fashioned view of reporting based on honor and truth, but Scoop is the only one to admit that doing the right thing and making money isn't always special.

scoop
director – Philip Martin
Pour – Gillian Anderson, Billie Piper, Keeley Hawes, Rufus Sewell, Romola Garai
Evaluation – 4/5