Playing in the Documentary Premieres section of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Running time: 98 minutes. Next screenings: Sunday, Jan. 27, 12:30 p.m., Rose Wagner Center, Salt Lake City; Thursday, 8:30 p.m., The MARC Theatre, Park City; Saturday, Feb. 2, 9 p.m., Redstone Cinema 7, Park City.
The BBC-produced documentary “Untouchable” is a fitting and necessary coda to the Sundance career of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who made his reputation as a dealmaker at Park City finding diamonds in the rough like “sex, lies and videotape,” “Reservoir Dogs” and “Clerks” — and allegedly committed acts of sexual assault and harassment in his hotel rooms while here.
Woman after woman in director Ursula Macfarlane’s documentary describe Weinstein’s modus operandii: A meeting to discuss the young woman’s future in showbiz, a stop in his hotel room, and the combination of desperate pleading and grave threats if the woman didn’t give him a massage or allow him to masturbate or perform some sex act.
Over and over again, the women — the most familiar face is Rosanna Arquette, who co-starred in the Weinstein-produced “Pulp Fiction” in 1994 — tell these similar stories, and the accumulated mass of the charges hits like a tidal wave. (Weinstein, who is facing criminal charges in New York, has consistently denied engaging in any sex that was non-consensual. He declined to be interviewed for the film.)
Macfarlane also interviews people who worked for Harvey and his brother Bob over the years, at Miramax and The Weinstein Company, as the Weinsteins became major Hollywood players. They alternate between admiration and disgust at Harvey Weinstein’s ability to spot and nurture talent, and also his belligerence and mistreatment of underlings. There’s also a hint of survivor’s guilt, that they didn’t see — or didn’t want to see — the pattern of assault and harassment going on for years.’
“Untouchable” should be a mandatory part of employee orientation at every Hollywood studio, and probably other businesses as well, as a case study in how to spot a predatory boss — and why it’s vital not to look the other way.