ชื่อภาพยนตร์: Scandalous: The True Story of the National Enquirer เบื้องหลังข่าวฉาว: เปิดความจริงเนชันแนลเอ็นไควเรอร์ (2019)
ผู้กำกับภาพยนตร์: มาร์คแลนด์ สแมน
ผู้เขียนบทภาพยนตร์: มาร์คแลนด์ สแมน
นักแสดง: Ken Auletta , Malcolm Balfour , Carl Bernstein
ความยาว: 1 ชม. 37 นาที
วันเข้าฉายในประเทศไทย: 15 พฤศจิกายน 2019
IMDB : tt10844816
คะแนน : 6.5
รับชม : 307 ครั้ง
เล่น : 60 ครั้ง
While it’s been in the tabloid business since 1953, only now is a moviemaker brave enough to assemble a documentary on the ways of the National Enquirer. Mark Landsman (“Thunder Soul”) steps up to examine just how the publication came to be, tracking the rise of its influence and the depths of its reporting, presenting a film about unscrupulous behavior in a day and age when such a thing has become daily bread for us all. Mercifully, “Scandalous” comes prepared, with Landsman assembling an impressive roster of interviewees and visual evidence to help fill out what’s really a string of political and pop culture highlights, following the paper’s efforts to be valued as entertainment and as an example of journalistic integrity. The picture is a bit wobbly when it comes time to challenge these personalities, but Landsman constructs a reasonably smooth ride of outrageous events and professional exposure.
While Landsman leads with an overview of the publication’s power, he also examines its origins under Generoso “Gene” Pope Jr., an ambitious young man who reportedly accepted money from mob boss Frank Costello to rebrand the paper, which was previously devoted to secondary news. Under Gene’s control, the National Enquirer embarked on a mission to drive sales up no matter the cost, with the editor at first electing to showcase gory photographs, trusting in the power of grisly crime scenes to attract attention. When blood and guts ran its course, Gene moved on to sensationalism, transforming a blend of rumor and reporting into front page news. The timing couldn’t be better, as the National Enquirer blasted off over the course of the 1970s, with its bosses offering escapism from the misery of the real world, making sure the paper was prominently displayed at supermarket checkout counters, giving it an eye-catching spot for a largely female readership that needed its dose of gossipy nonsense.
While the frivolous nature of the National Enquirer is explored in “Scandalous,” Landsman is more interested in the particulars of the business. There’s an overview of the reporter experience, with sharp minds brought in to shape raw information into sellable stories, inspiring Gene to move the operation from New York City to a compound in Florida, building his own empire in the sun. The editor’s temperament is detailed, with Gene a smart businessman but horrible with people, keeping the writers on their toes as they hunted for the next cover story, feeling no job security. Landsman could go even deeper into these troubling office politics, but “Scandalous” doesn’t have the run time to devote to such monstrous behavior, instead focusing on the development of a “spy network,” with the staff reaching out to informants with money to help encourage tips and inspire headlines.
“Scandalous” doesn’t skip over the illegalities of such a business, with interviewees happily sharing details of their “reporting,” which occasionally involved fraud and theft to find something of worth. In the documentary, this type of professional conduct is laughed off as just part of the job, and Landsman doesn’t pursue any acceptance of responsibility, taking it very easy on the journalists who worked at the National Enquirer, allowing them to share their insight without underlining obvious ethical shortcomings (shame is not something these people are familiar with). The paper got the job done, and “Scandalous” files through the bigger stories that made the tabloid not just a success, but one of the most widely read papers in the world. Highlights include the procurement of a dead Elvis photo, tracking the last minutes of John Belushi’s life, the Gary Hart/Donna Rice scandal, the O.J. Simpson trial, and the death of Princess Diana. More twisted are sections devoted to a bartering system set up at the newspaper, allowing celebrities such as Bill Cosby and Bob Hope a chance to bury stories of debauched behavior in exchange for interviews. This way of business carries into the film’s finale, which looks into ways Donald Trump worked with the National Enquirer for decades to build and protect his brand name.
“Scandalous” does a satisfactory job following the rise and fall of the National Enquirer. It’s not a work of condemnation, often celebrating methods used to secure a story, and that’s a little unsettling, but the history of the publication is distinctly traced throughout the documentary, buttered up with strange and sickening anecdotes about celebrities and politicians who ended up in the paper’s crosshairs, often desperate to find a way out. There’s an enormous amount of ego to sort through here, and Landsman has the vision to deliver an illuminating overview of a once shadowy organization.
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