By Gregory Crofton
Director Chris Smith ( American Movie, Fyre) is back with another great documentary, “Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal,” which premiered Wednesday on Netflix.
What sets this film apart, and helps move the genre forward, was the decision to cast a bonafide Hollywood star Matthew Modine as disgraced “college adviser” Rick Singer.
Modine plays Singer in numerous recreated scenes that work on a higher level because of his acting skills. Since Singer himself never sat down to be interviewed for the film, the recreations help tell a complex story of how wealthy people were enticed by Singer to pay big sums of money to him to get their children accepted into top universities.
The dialogue in these scenes is taken from transcripts of recorded phone conversations Singer had with clients.
The broader story of “Operation Varsity Blues” is the intense competition students have to deal with today to earn admission to a school like Harvard or Yale. Increased tuition prices, and the fact that the job market rewards people who earn degrees from these schools, continue to make the situation worse.
Ultimately what makes this doc entertaining is listening to these transcripts between fraudster, Singer, and his unknowing clients. Watching the richest people in America step in it is just plain fun.
Check out the trailer below.