Sunday, February 13, 2022

REVIEW: 'Inventing Anna' - Vivian and Todd Pursue Their Selfish Interests During Anna's Fraud Trial in 'Dangerously Close'

Netflix's Inventing Anna - Episode 1.09 "Dangerously Close"

Anna obsesses over her trial style as Vivian covers the proceedings, Rachel takes the stand and defense lawyer Todd implores his client to cooperate.

"Dangerously Close" was written by Matt Byrne and directed by Ellen Kuras

Escaping Anna Delvey is easier said than done. Vivian and Todd are both given multiple times to leave and move on to the next big thing. And yet, they are attached to the glamour and excitement of this moment. It never feels like an end. Even the epilogue continues Anna's story. She was found guilty of eight of the ten charges brought against her. She was sentenced for four to twelve years. She was released after serving two and immediately taken into ICU custody to face deportation. Those details are presented to show how widespread this story becomes. It's a life after all. Anna's youth has been a major factor throughout all of this. She used it as a way to say others were always underestimating her. It was a point of pride that she achieved so much at such a young age. It's still her believing in the lies even at great personal cost. Todd needs to convince a jury that Anna wasn't dangerously close to securing these loans. Those are the most serious charges. And yes, the jury ultimately convicts her for defrauding institutions and not people. The show takes the opposite approach when depicting this legal drama though. Rachel's testimony is the most crucial thing. Sure, other witnesses take the stand. In those moments, it's all a distraction for the true conversation of what Anna is wearing in the courtroom. It's a blend of style between a professional stylist working for the publicity and Vivian doing it out of the kindness of her heart. It's still insane to think about. Vivian rushes to get Anna clothes she believes are suitable for the persona she evokes at all times. Vivian does so in exchange for every piece of evidence Todd received from the prosecution. That deal doesn't amount to anything. It's a mountain of evidence. More details could likely be found in them. More story could be reported. Vivian's bosses certainly want her to keep riding this wave. It's proven successful for them. Vivian is personally compromised. She can't objectively report this story any longer because she is playing a role in Anna's defense. She is rooting for her to beat these charges. That comes despite all she did to expose the heinous and corrupt nature of her crimes. It took months of reporting. She did so in pursuit of her career. And then, she is apologetic because her writing has destroyed Anna's life. It's completely out of whack and suggests an immorality that is too grimy to think about for too long. It's an overwhelming quality that drives Anna's appeal and makes others sorry for doing the same.

Anna doesn't apologize for anything she has done. That's not how she conducts herself. In fact, she is glad the jury found her a success story. She wasn't a dumb heiress arrested on trumped up charges. She truly had a vision that came close to fruition. The verdict is devastating for her personal life but validates all that she did. She deserves that from her peers. She receives it. Others gain what they have always wanted too. Everyone seems to come out of this tale with some kind of success. Vivian and Todd boost their careers for perfectly displaying what they can do. They can be seen as quality people in their chosen professions. Rachel sells her story to be published as a book and adapted for movie or TV. Neff quits her job to focus completely on becoming a director. These are all seen as positives. But again, it's all about the melodramatic twists and turns meant to convey personal upheaval. It's a lot of frantically running around trying to make the criminal justice system work. Social media could be used to expose the failings of the system. Instead, it creates a moment to prop up the trivial nature of Anna's life and what she cares about. She cares more about how she is presented than whether or not she beats these charges. Meanwhile, the prosecution deems losing any count as a personal defeat. It's a hot-cold take on the world that lives in the absolute extremes. That's not an adequate depiction of how the system works or what people should expect from it. Yes, Todd gets a huge declaration out of Rachel. That turns her remaining friends against her. That's never where the sympathies are meant to lie. Instead, it all comes back to the complexity of Anna Delvey. She acts like a brat and frustrates the people trying to help her. They believe they can save her. That's the most insane thing. Even after the verdict comes in, they want to accommodate her even to the detriment of their personal lives. Vivian is given the advice that she needs to move on to the next story. She showed good instincts in revealing the importance of profiling Anna's life. She can do so again. The magazine is likely to publish her work. But everything is too consumed by Anna to have any perspective whatsoever. Sure, that's to be expected from a show detailing how Anna became the woman who defrauded millions from some of the most powerful financial institutions. The ensemble was meant to produce more nuanced takes in the drama. And yet, all of it remained frustratingly one-note. Any moment of successful emotion was only undercut later on. Events being misconstrued also dictates the criminal justice system. Nothing is powerfully showcased to incorporate those themes and make them matter. It's just a story that got some public attention because of technology and opportunity in the 21st century. It presents as more than that. It simply gets lost in trying to find a cohesive message along the way.