Welcome to the Weekend Binge. Every week, we’ll suggest a binge-able title designed to keep you from getting too stir crazy. Check back throughout the weekend for even more gloriously queer entertainment.
The Scandalous: Catch & Kill
Lions of queer documentary cinema Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato teamed with Pulitzer Prize winner Ronan Farrow for this six-part HBO series, based on Farrow’s podcast of the same name. Catch & Kill recounts Farrow’s investigation into the sexual crimes of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. What begins as a standard story takes on a life of its own, as Weinstein pressures Farrow’s then-network NBC to kill the story before it runs. When Farrow persists, taking his story to The New Yorker, Weinstein and his forces follow. What begins as a story of Hollywood scandal morphs into a spy thriller worthy of Ian Flemming, as Farrow engages in clandestine meetings and eludes Weinstein’s literal spies to bring the truth to light.
Bailey & Barbato use both Farrow’s original podcast tapes as well as new, filmed interviews to map out how protective and aggressive Weinstein had become of his image, and just how far his power could reach. At its core, however, Catch & Kill presents the portrait of a queer hero, an all-American journalist who refused to succumb to intimidation a la All The President’s Men. That said, Farrow isn’t exactly the everyman in the vein of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. For that matter, the series also doesn’t quite humanize Farrow as well, either. We were left wondering how the stress of a multi-year investigation which threatened to derail his entire career weighed on his relationships and day-to-day life. That minor quibble aside, Catch & Kill tells one hell of a harrowing story, and reminds us again why Bailey & Barbato are two of the great, gay directors working today.
Streams on HBO Max. Finale airs July 26.