Netflix UK TV review: Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich
Exposing a monster8
Mike Williams | On 14, Jun 2020
Before we get started on Netflix’s latest docuseries that focuses on the monstrous life of notorious paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, it’s worth pointing out that, unsurprisingly, Filthy Rich deals frequently – and in detail – with Epstein’s grotesque behaviour as well as horrifying insights from survivors. This is a harrowing yet necessary journey to grasp the enormity of one man’s callous disregard for young women, and for said women’s stories to be heard.
With the success of Tiger King dominating the virtual water cooler convo since the near-deadly rivalry between Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin aired in March, the tone for Netflix’s latest true crime doc – a deep delve into the formative years and sordid life of a once mysterious, affluent millionaire exposed as a child sex trafficker – is clearly a difficult watch. Despite news coverage informing us about the nauseating reality of how an American financier managed to operate an international ring trafficking vulnerable, underaged girls, we knew very little of the accompanying context and events that led up to his brief imprisonment.
Spanning over four parts (each around an hour in length), we’re walked through the deception, the charm and manipulation of Epstein from an early age. Things intensify when secret plea deals and corrupt officials rear their heads rendering a predator virtually untouchable and able to operate freely. Throughout, his victims come forward to make their voices heard, culminating in the recent reopening of the case, and eventually beyond to his death.
Each episode offers a plethora of detail and sufficient backstory to Epstein’s earlier life, that of alleged accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, and the uncomfortable rawness of various witness accounts along the way. Women we follow through the gruelling torment of being ignored, failed by the US justice system amid the realisation that he wouldn’t be held accountable for his actions, are the core constant. That makes their injustices particularly hard to endure yet illustrates a much more visceral picture of his cruel and sociopathic nature. As the timeline unfolds, the documentary reveals known friends or acquaintances, such as Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Woody Allen, Chris Tucker and Kevin Spacey, but its creators don’t delve too deeply into their denials of any connections to him, or even discuss their possible connections – in fact, they barely scrape the surface.
That said, Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich is an otherwise comprehensive, albeit unpleasant, unpacking of a now-known deviancy that was hidden from the public. Playing the role of a controlling, power-hungry, narcissistic millionaire like a villain in a movie is one thing, but with Epstein we were subject to something altogether more sinister. This is an upsetting account of the extent of one man’s maniacal, repugnant existence.
Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.