Georgetown, based upon the true story of a grifter, starring Christoph Waltz, Vanessa Redgrave, and Annette Bening, is the directorial debut of Christoph Waltz. Waltz plays Ulrich Mott, who marries an older, affluent widow, Elsa Breht (Redgrave), to climb the social ladder in Washington DC. Elsa’s daughter, Amanda (Bening) is understandably suspicious of Mott, for good reason, as he pounced on Elsa right after her spouse died.
When Elsa ends up murdered, after a dinner party in which Amanda walks out of, after listening to Mott’s improbable stories, the obvious suspect is Mott. The story then begins its non-linear timeline, and the film is divided into chapters. We find out that prior to Elsa’s spouse passing, Mott had marked her, and was waiting in the wings.
Mott uses his new position in society to rub elbows with the Georgetown/DC elite, and foreign leaders. Elsa is a partner in this, helping his government contractor career flourish in the early 2000s. There are so many cringy situations, and you wonder how and why some of these people are taken in by him. There are some people that don’t fall for it, particularly dignitaries from the Middle East after the fall of Saddam Hussein, when he comes up with some insane scheme to bring terror cells together to talk. Obviously, it goes over like a lead balloon, and they practically laugh at them. I laughed along with them because it was bonkers.
After Elsa walks in on Mott in a compromising situation, Mott disappears for two years. During these two years, Mott alone decides to enact his crazy scheme and goes to negotiate with the terrorists, BY HIMSELF, reporting back to the State Department. It’s completely ridiculous, but also kind of brilliant, because people believe this guy. Elsa allows Mott to return after these two years, and Mott’s story begins to unravel. Elsa threatens to out him for multiple things and the expected thing happens. At that point, the story comes full circle.
At the end, there’s a little blurb that it’s not the true story of the case that it’s based upon, but it totally is, of course, I’m sure it just had to be disclaimed. The reason I know that is because I was aware of the case, and that’s why I chose to rent the film since it was cheap on Amazon Prime Day.
I didn’t mind the non-linear storytelling, it was effective, for the most part. The issue I had was that the pacing was off. The ending also didn’t have the payoff that was expected. You wanted to see some sort of justice, and it just kind of ended. The story was good, but that’s because the true crime story itself was good. I really enjoyed Waltz’s performance, but I feel like Bening was a little wasted. She didn’t really add to the plot, other than voicing her distaste and repeatedly warning everyone around her that he was a creep and a fake. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t unwatchable.
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I’m a Data Analyst, from the land of Matthew McConaughey. I’m an avid movie-goer and love seeing films in theaters. My most recent favorite films are Good Time, Only Lovers Left Alive, TENET, and England is Mine. When I’m not at the movies, I’m either reading or watching obscene amount of true crime and historical documentaries.