Untouchable review

My first thought about Untouchable, the new documentary about Hollywood mega-producer and sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, was that it didn’t bring anything new to the table. But that’s not entirely true – the film reiterates every detail you already know from the key reports that have been published about him, but the true power of this movie (and for me, the only reason it should exist at all) comes in its interviews with Weinstein’s victims, and the stories from these women are just as heart-rending and disturbing as you probably imagine.

Through interviews with survivors, former employees, and the journalists who brought him down, director Ursula Macfarlane tracks Weinstein’s rise to power from a music promoter in Buffalo, New York to the king of the independent film world. The film’s focus on Weinstein’s career is theoretically to provide context for why his epic fall was such a seismic shift in our culture, but it’s still sometimes difficult to swallow quotes from his former colleagues who heap praise on his marketing prowess and business acumen. No one is here to hear about how great Weinstein was. We want to hear from his survivors, the women whose lives and careers were forever altered by this repulsive monster.

Untouchable gives them a platform, and while you already know many of their stories, watching them explain what happened in their own words lands in a much different way than dispassionately reading about it on your phone. You see the anguish on their faces as they recall the pieces of themselves they lost in those awful hotel room encounters, and every time the camera cuts back to a photo of Weinstein’s smug face, we’re infuriated anew.

Beyond the powerful testimonies, the filmmaking itself is a bit pedestrian. From a stylistic standpoint, it feels like a run-of-the-mill HBO doc, complete with bland interstitial footage of Los Angeles and New York that doesn’t add anything to the story and just feels like the filmmakers needed some B-roll. If you’ve read anything about the Weinstein case, Untouchable plays out exactly as you’d expect, leaving me wondering who exactly this is for. It seems designed for people who only skimmed headlines, because basically everything else was common knowledge (except for a story I’d never heard about how Weinstein literally referred to himself as the sheriff of Hollywood).

The movie amounts to a cathartic cinematic therapy session for the women he abused (Paz de la Huerta, Rosanna Arquette, Erika Rosenbaum, Hope D’Amore, and more), the employees who were complicit in helping him, and the few who refused to stand by as this monster leveraged his immense power (and immense body) to prey on unsuspecting women. Whether you’ll get anything out of it as an audience member depends entirely on how closely you followed the initial stories.

/Film Rating: 5 out of 10

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

About the Author