Getting freelancers to separate a workspace and convincing them that they’re a part of an unique membership is a neat trick, nevertheless it’s solely the primary flicker of gaslighting seen in “WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn,” a documentary that implies that WeWork — the tech start-up, or is it a real-estate start-up? — owed its development much less to the sharing financial system than to shared delusion.
On why what now seems to be like a tenuous, bluster-based enterprise mannequin would enchantment to Wall Street, the director, Jed Rothstein, spends much less time than he ought to. Instead, the film relays a fast-paced, entertaining saga of WeWork’s relentless self-selling and what it portrays as a cultlike corporate atmosphere. (One interviewee, August Urbish, who labored at WeWork and lived in WeReside — an identical enterprise for short-term, semi-communal residence leases — says his “entire life was being propped up by the We community.”)
Rothstein’s documentary by no means captures the enchantment of the obnoxious guru at its heart, Adam Neumann, a co-founder of WeWork who stepped down as chief executive in 2019. A title card says he declined to take part, however from what’s onscreen, he speaks (and perhaps thinks) completely in motivational sound bites. Person after particular person testifies to his charisma, nevertheless it’s exhausting to grasp how he persuaded individuals to hitch the corporate, reasonably than hit him within the head with a designer chair.
The movie is sharper when its topics describe the monetary maneuvering that enabled WeWork’s rise, which, as defined right here, concerned redefining measures of profitability into meaninglessness. The film overextends itself, too, by implying, in its closing beat, that, folly or not, WeWork’s imaginative and prescient of human interplay holds promise for a post-lockdown world.
WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 44 minutes. Watch on Hulu.