Like the shark in Jaws, we only see Harvey Weinstein towards the end of Maria Schrader's accomplished and forensic dramatisation of the fall of the disgraced Hollywood mogul.

But just like that cold-blooded predator, he circles every second of She Said, which is based on the book by New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey.

Carey Mulligan as Megan Twohey

When Weinstein's considerable bulk does heave into view, he is shot from behind as he troops into the NYT’s offices for a pow-wow with the editors after he finally realises that his years of sexually abusing actresses and film workers can no longer be shielded by the Hollywood omertà, hush money, NDAs, and intimidation.

This is how it should be. Schrader’s movie is about the survivors who had the bravery to come forward after years of terrified silence to tell Kantor and Twohey their stories and put Weinstein behind bars.

We need your consent to load this comcast-player contentWe use comcast-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Watch our interview with Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan

Interestingly, She Said starts in 1992 on the west coast of Ireland where a local girl stumbles across a film set and volunteers herself as a runner. However, as her career develops, she comes into the malignant orbit of Weinstein. She is Laura Madden, who is played here with poise and feeling by Jennifer Ehle, and her story is one of the many threads Twohey and Kanter pull at as they unravel Weinstein's web of lies.

Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan, who have been best friends for 14 years, play the two reporters with a mix of weariness and determination and they almost immediately banish any illusion that this might be a hard-nosed newspaper movie in the style of All The President’s Men.

We need your consent to load this comcast-player contentWe use comcast-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Watch our interview with director Maria Schrader

Both are struggling with postpartum depression and Mulligan puts in a particularly careworn performance while the more preppy Kazan has the tenacity of a bloodhound, hot on the trail of the story of her career.

They are dogged in their pursuit of Weinstein, facing a bulwark of silence and a shameful legal system heavily weighted against those who have suffered sexual abuse from powerful men. Doors are slammed shut in their faces, calls end abruptly, and nobody seems to want to go on record.

We may not see Weinstein, a man who is given to "swearing on my wife and kids’ lives", but his mafiosi rumble is heard as he threatens the editors of the NYT over the phone and in one chilling scene, Schrader’s camera slowly tracks down a hotel hallway and we hear a real tape recording of one of his many, many assaults.

Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan), Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan), Dean Baquet (Andre Braugher), and Rebecca Corbett (Patricia Clarkson) in She Said

Patricia Clarkson as NYT editor Rebecca Corbett and Andre Braugher is executive editor Dean Baquet are like a more benevolent Ben Bradlee, Weinstein survivor Ashely Judd plays herself and an excellent Samantha Morton as Weinstein’s former assistant Zelda Perkins coolly recounts her experiences with the mogul to Kantor in a London café. It is the trickle that leads to the dam burst of truth.

Schrader tells the story in a brisk, linear style in what is a very literal evocation of the source material, but the procedural pace never prevents She Said from becoming a powerful and gripping account of a sordid tale that is as old as Hollywood.

Alan Corr @CorrAlan2