Filthy Rich – 4

A four-episoder about Jeffrey Epstein that is unpleasant, repetitive, overlong and maddeningly uninformative. We get dozens of the “what” – “Then he turned over…” – but none of the why or how and very little of the who. For years he preyed on unfortunate teenage girls, but their stories are the same. How did he get away with it? Who made the corrupt deal with the U.S. attorney? How did he get so rich – especially since he had a massage and sex every day instead of working? To whom was he trafficking the girls? What caused his perversion? What was his relationship with Bill Clinton? Woody Allen? Allen Dershowitz? Who else? What about his deal with Harvard (unmentioned)? What about the photos found on his computer? The visuals were also maddening: over and over we saw the same contemporary shots of Palm Beach and the same tabloid shots of Epstein (and Maxwell). The filmmakers also used a technique that bugs me (also overused in Liz Garbus’s new documentary about the Golden State killer): reenacting without faces or any identifying mark an incidental action – walking to the beach, drinking coffee – to illustrate what the narrator is saying. The material here was about enough for 90 minutes, not four hours; and even then it would have just been a warm-up to the real story.

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