EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY (director/writer: Alex Gibney; cinematographer: Maryse Alberti; editor: Alison Ellwood; music: David Robbins; cast:oice-overs by Stanley Tucci (Jack Abramoff), Paul Rudd (Michael Scanlon); Runtime: 118; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Alex Gibney/Alison Ellwood/Zena Barakat; Magnolia; 2010)|
tells the blood-boiling story of the convicted disgraced
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Alex Gibney ("Enron:
Smartest Guys in the Room"/"Taxi to the Dark
Side"/"Client 9: The
Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer") loads up his doc with
covered in the newspapers, as he dully tells the
blood-boiling story of the convicted disgraced
Jack Abramoff--a villain, if ever there was one, but
far from the only
rotten apple in the barrel. This is the story of
greed, the push for unregulated capitalism and widespread political
by lobbyists, that includes the sleazy
influence-peddling of the
following conservative Republicans: Tom DeLay, Bob Ney, Ralph
Norquist, Karl Rove, and many other like-minded
It picks up the story from Abramoff's Young Republican days when he was pumped-up by the Reagan Revolution as a conservative idealogue and after a brief stopover in Hollywood arrived in Washington in time for the 1995 Republican takeover of Congress. Abramoff became a lobbyist and used his Republican contacts, especially with power brokers like House Majority leader DeLay, to make a fortune for himself and his associates by doing some of the following criminal things: arranging with his political contacts to allow his client Chinese sweatshop owners to have immigrants forced to be indentured slaves in the factories of the United States' Mariana Islands in Saipan, working out fraudulent schemes as a lobbyist to bilk the Indian Reservation casinos of millions and arranging a suspicious sale of the SunCruz Casinos--where the former casino owner was executed gangster style when he wouldn't leave.
The unwieldy film has value for reminding us how sleazy Abramoff and his cronies are and how they got Congress to deregulate Wall Street. What followed was the financial collapse of the American capitalist system due to the many unsavory schemes cooked up by the Wall Street money men, who are untrustworthy to regulate themselves. Unfortunately the film has little bite (its scope is too broad and by using actors voices for the main sleazeballs, the pic loses its force), even though what it tells us should make us all sick (especially knowing that while Abramoff is currently in prison for a four-year tem, his type of unethical lobbyist activities are still with us).
REVIEWED ON 12/23/2010 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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