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Catch & Kill: The Podcast Tapes (HBO) Review: It Is Must-See!



Catch & Kill: The Podcast Tapes (HBO)

Catch & Kill: The Podcast Tapes (HBO)

Directed and produced by Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey

Rating: ****

Catch & Kill: The Podcast Tapes: I am not a fan of  documentaries.  But I am a fan of American investigative  journalist Ronan Farrow. Just 33,and  sinfully camera-friendly  ,Ronan,  son of the iconic actress Mia Farrow, is  the  poster boy  of   fearless journalism.  Not long ago, he accused his  own father  the legendary Woody Allen of sexual abuse in their  own family.

Then it was Harvey Weinstein, the posterboy of sexual predatoriness in  the  global entertainment business. When a producer  offers  a cup of tea to  an actress(or  actor, for that matter) the answer  is, “Don’t Weinstein me!”

Two   years  ago, Ronan  wrote a book Catch  & Kill, a phrase  that refers to the  custom of killing volatile  stories because of  pressure from the  powers-that-bleed. Catch & Kill: The Podcast Tapes is now a  6-part  documentary  on  HBO.

So far  only two  episodes have  aired, and they’re explosive. I have also seen some of  the  reviews in the American press and  they reek of resentment about the  newshound becoming the  news.

The  power and glory of star-journalist is  now behind to us. To see a young man claim a portion of that  media-ruling mythology is  intolerable  to  his ilk. I say, more  power to Ronan. He  is everything that  a super-snooper should be but can’t because they go against the  interests of  the publishers.

Ronan  listens  carefully and  writes unsparingly. It won’t be wrong to say Ronan singlehandedly  brought down the  Harvey Weisntein  empire where many of his  predecessors had failed .The  documentary gives  space time and an attentive ear  to  two  such American journalists  Kim Masters and   Ken Auleta  in Episode  2  . They tell Ronan how close they were to  collaring Weinstein. But had to pull back.

This is  where Ronan  indulges in a bit  of  self-congratulations. And why not? He  got the biggest sex scandal scoop in  the history  of entertainment journalism.

I was hooked to his  interview with Philipino-Italian  model-actress Ambra Battilana whom  Wesinstein’s well-oiled machinery—no, I am  not talking about his penis—tried its best to malign and suppress. I  loved when Ms Battilana says  to Ronan “Even  a woman who wears high heels and short skirt can stop a  man, tell him no.”

Cue for applause, But  hang on. Why did  she accept an out-of-court million-dollar settlement  from Weinstein and  a non-disclosure agreement? And in that case, why is she  sitting there like  Joan  of  Arc? The  minute you accept money  from the accused your accusations run out  of steam.

That, luckily this  book turned  into  podcast  turned  into  a  riveting documentary  never  does. It is swift  snappy and  seductive in its  design. And  proof of what  journalists can expose if their  bosses are  with them(and  can’t when they aren’t).The  documentary is  constantly engaging.  But why so many topshots  of  New York with all those  cars and skyscrapers  giving the city  a faroff  once-upon-a-time look?

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