How much is the value of a lost life? Netflix’s ‘Worth’ asks

After the devastating 9/11 attack on twin tower New York that killed almost three thousand people and injured six thousand civilians, ‘Kenneth Feinberg’(Micheal Keaton) , a cynic of a lawyer, is charged by the US government to do the unthinkable.

How much is the value of a lost life? Netflix’s ‘Worth’ asks

The job sounds simple. Evaluate the damages and create a formula that will provide a compensation fund for victims of the attack financially and emotionally.

However, the conflict doesn’t lie in Ken’s formula but in the harsh motivations behind it. Which is completely insensitive to the family of the victims.

The formula is simple, straightforward yet flawed. The formula states only victims who were injured in the site within 24hrs of the attack. But then there are first responders who didn’t get sick until months after inhaling dust from the building collapse.

There are victims who were estranged from their next of kin before death and would desire their compensation to belong to somebody else, there are same-sex couples that the Virginia state law does not recognize at the time, and many other cases that begs exceptions.

After holding meetings with several victims Ken realises his formula is unfair. It is here he begins to take an internal peek at how to really help citizens with grief and please the American government treasury at the same time.

Ken is sceptical. His initial approach to the aftermath of the crisis that threatens to collapse the economy is to “finish it and move on”. But Ken’s cynicism dissolves after coming face to face with the dreadful effects of the 9/11 disaster compelling him to take a moral review of his legal practice and everything he stands for.

Directed by Sara Colangelo, one major strength of “Worth” is its avoidance of cliche sentimentalism and the thought-provoking character arcs it takes the audience through.

The tear-jerking scenes in which victims of 9/11 narrate their suffering dealing with the loss of spouses, children, loved ones trigger the audience to reminisce over, immortalize 9/11, and appreciate the priceless value of life. One that no paycheque nor government fund can offset.

This Netflix film not only shatters the idea of putting costs on human lives in the name of compensation, but it also sends a stern message to the reputable companies and governments across the globe to ensure the safety and protection of lives and property of its citizens—especially at times when it matters the most.

The best form of compensation for the loss of lives & property due to terrorist strikes, protests or official misconduct is ensuring there is no need for it in the first place.

Because if or when it ever comes down to that, no amount nor formula will ever be sufficient.

Israel Olorunnisola is a freelance creative. When he is not writing about Film, Music, TV or Pop culture he is telling stories on Wattpad.

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