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  • Nate Adams

'Scoop' review: Engaging Netflix drama documents historical Prince Andrew interview


Courtesy of Netflix

 

Chronicling the infamous 2019 BBC “Newsnight” interview where Prince Andrew was convinced to sit down and answer tough questions about his chummy relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, the Netflix drama “Scoop” provides context and insight for those who missed out on the viral sensation. For anyone else, it might come across as your standard, dramatized re-telling where you might be better off just pulling up the 60-minute interview on YouTube. Alas, “Scoop” does give the spotlight over to the four woman who negotiated the historic sit-down and champions news organizations in the same way “She Said,” “Spotlight,” and “All the President’s Men,” did before it, even if “Scoop” lacks the dramatic heft they brought to the table. 


Director Philip Martin, working with a script from Peter Moffatt & Geoff Bussetil, puts the focus on “Newsnight” booker Sam McAllister (Billie Piper) who, in the midst of trying to prove her worth to a company going through serious layoffs, reached for the stars and tried to bag the impossible. How could anyone think the Royal Family would allow someone very close in their orbit to literally sit down in a national televised setting and answer questions around a hot button topic? “Scoop” answers that question in dramatic fashion. 


Even if you are already aware of the interview itself, the preparation and methodical planning keeps the allure of “Scoop” alive. Seeing a bumbling Prince Andrew (Rufus Sewell - unrecognizable) get thrown into the lions den with veteran anchor Emily Maitlis (Gillian Anderson), who basically just lets the Prince dig his own grave with nonsensical ramblings about, among other things, his inability to sweat, is very satisfying. Especially for someone who actually wasn’t familiar with the interview prior to the screening, “Scoop” does a serviceable job at executing this moment in time where someone of power was put in the hot seat and had to answer for their questionable behavior. 


Sewell is solid despite the prosthetics being occasionally distracting while Anderson thrives playing the news anchor who was desperate to make up for a botched Bill Clinton interview she conducted during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. And though the movie puts a lot of emphasis on her contributions, Piper is given the short end of the narrative leash as she’s stuck playing a conventional personality who we barely get to know or understand outside a brief interaction with her child. With a story of this size and magnitude, some elements were bound to get lost in the shuffle, but “Scoop” still manages to keep the attention on the subject without stumbling over its own execution. 


Grade: B 


SCOOP streams on Netflix Friday, April 5th.


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