Critics Can't Agree On Whether Netflix's Scoop Is 'Fascinating' Or Merely A 'Functional Recap'

Rufus Sewell and Gillian Anderson recreate Prince Andrew's infamous Newsnight interview in this new Netflix original.
Rufus Sewell and Gillian Anderson in Scoop
Rufus Sewell and Gillian Anderson in Scoop

One of Netflix’s most-hyped projects for 2024, Scoop, is finally streaming now.

The new film centres around the lead-up to Prince Andrew’s infamous Newsnight interview five years ago, with Rufus Sewell donning prosthetics to play the Duke of York and Gillian Anderson returning to the streaming giant as journalist Emily Maitlis.

Meanwhile, Billie Piper takes the lead as producer Sam McAllister, who helped put the whole car-crash interview together in the first place (and whose own book, Scoop, was adapted by Netflix for the new film).

To mark the release, critics have been weighing in with their takes, and while the cast’s performances have largely been praised, reviews have questioned just how much insight Scoop actually offers into an interview that is still so fresh in the public’s mind (and is still readily available to watch online).

Here’s a selection of what critics have had to say about Netflix’s Scoop…

“The climax of the film, of course, is the tense, surreal, and blackly funny sequence that reproduces some of the key exchanges from the car-crash interview [...] the reason that this sequence is so gripping is that it’s a carbon copy of the real thing, and so it does raise the question of why the film was made at all.”

“[Scoop is] a laboriously acted and distinctly self-admiring, self-mythologising drama about the media, the royals and the media royals […] smothered by its own overwhelming sense of importance.”

Rufus Sewell in character as Prince Andrew
Rufus Sewell in character as Prince Andrew

Empire (3/5)

“Though it is a technically faithful recreation, it feels rather lacking a point of view. This is a very famous and very recent interview, one which you can watch – in full – on the BBC iPlayer. What is Scoop adding to the table, beyond slightly first-base ‘journalism is important’ themes? It’s not clear.”

“Although serviceable as a retread of the events that led up to the royal interview conducted by Newsnight anchor Emily Maitlis (impersonated here by Gillian Anderson), an interview recreated for big chunks of the running time, it doesn’t significantly deepen or enrich our understanding of the personalities involved – let alone journalism, privilege, sexual exploitation or the price of fish.”

The Times (3/5)

“There was a lot to enjoy in this broad cosplay of British media, for all its flaws. Certainly, nobody disgraced themselves. By the end, though, both it and its characters seemed to be judging success on the basis of approval; on mass Twitter feedback and global press attention. Is that enough? Does it even warrant a drama in the first place?”

“All the developments here feel inevitable, meaning there is no sense of tension behind the drama – which consequently ensures the film resembles little more than a functional recap.”

“There remain real questions about mainstream media’s ability to hold the powerful to account. But Scoop, which declares it a job-well-done simply to see a man stripped of honorary titles without ever having to defend himself in a criminal court, fails to make the argument for why any of this mattered beyond making good TV.”

Scoop recreates Prince Andrew's infamous Newsnight interview from 2019
Scoop recreates Prince Andrew's infamous Newsnight interview from 2019

“[Scoop is] a movie that offers to lift the lid on the most wildly botched PR exercise in modern media history. Just as predictably, much of the story goes untold.”

iNews (3/5)

“Recently, a trend has emerged for dramatising news rather quickly after the actual event, from Brexit to Covid to Wagatha Christie. And, as with those stories, the question remains what a Netflix dramatisation starring Gillian Anderson, Rufus Sewell and Billie Piper could really add to a story that is still so raw, so relevant, and so readily available on YouTube in all its glorious, squirming reality […] I’m still not quite sure of the answer.”

“The way to watch Scoop is from behind your fingers. The Newsnight interview by Emily Maitlis of Prince Andrew was grisly to watch at the time and its repetition here by Netflix, even with Rufus Sewell as Andrew and Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis, is as terrible as it was then.”

“For all the sensation their interview would cause, this re-enactment grips consistently as a revolving study in personalities.”

“It’s no great slight to Scoop to say that it’s no more compelling than the real-life news broadcast on which it pivots. It’s also no less compelling than said broadcast, which was, after all, a doozy.”

“If Scoop doesn’t quite reach the levels of [Said, The Post, Spotlight and All the President’s Men] that have focused on what goes into bringing the truth and the goods to the public in the form of credible and reliable hardcore journalistic ethics, it certainly comes close on its own modest terms. And significantly, it manages to keep us on the edge of our seats even if we do indeed know how it all ends.”

The Sun (4/5)

“How could anything be more enthralling than the car-crash interview itself? Well, this insight into how the sensational booking happened in the first place is fascinating enough to keep any ‘but I know this already’ viewer interested.”

“Scoop made me laugh and it made me cry and it also delivers some exceptional performances. But it’s the topics that this pacey, almost thriller-like film tackles that really give Scoop its gravitas and also its relevance today.”


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