Director: George Hickenlooper
Running time: 108 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15
USA Release date: 17th December 2010 (limited)
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 23rd October 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I must admit I knew nothing about Jack Abramoff before seeing this film. I’m guessing his story caused quite a scandal in the corridors of power in Washington DC at the time. I have never taken much of an interest in American politics, it seems very complicated to me and this film hasn’t really changed my view. It’s opened my eyes somewhat, but it only goes to show just how cutthroat a business modern politics is! I will give you my thoughts on this one after a very brief summary.
This film tells the very recent story of Jack Abramoff and his associate, Michael Scanlon. They were lobbyists under the Bush administration. Their job was to find companies or organisations that wanted or needed changes in legislation. They would then, for a substantial fee, approach the various politicians they needed to get the job done. The wheels were often greased with large donations to re-election campaigns or similar. All of what I’ve said so far is, I believe, perfectly legal. The film tells us about their dealings with various Native American tribes and how they defrauded them out of large amounts of money in order to secure gambling rights. There is more to tell, but I’d better leave it there or the Spoiler Police will be charging me with misconduct.
Although I found the film a little hard to follow I did enjoy the performances or both Kevin Spacey as Jack Abramoff and Barry Pepper as Michael Scanlon. As I’ve already said, US politics is not a beast I usually confront and I’d like to say that this film convinced me otherwise, but sadly it didn’t. I found most of the characters quite despicable (no real surprise there though) and the way they go about their business quite deplorable. The film itself is pretty well made and the plot does make sense after a while, after several of the threads begin to pull together. I can’t exactly say it had me gripped, but it was quite well made and Kevin Spacey did a pretty good job in the leading role. Sadly it’s not one I’d recommend unless you’re really into American politics, or really have to see all of Kevin Spacey’s films.
My Score: 5.4/10.
IMDb Score: 6.3/10 (based on 6,457 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 36/100 (based on 90 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:
Jack Abramoff: You know, I do a shitload of reading and studying and praying, and I've come to a few conclusions I want to share. People look at politicians and celebrities on the TV and the newspapers, glossy magazines - what do they see? "I'm just like them." That's what they say. "I'm special. I'm different. I could be any one of them." Well guess what, you can't. You know why? Cause in reality, mediocrity is where most people live. Mediocrity is the elephant in the room. It's ubiquitous. Mediocrity in your schools. It's in your dreams. It's in your family. And those of us who know this - those of us who understand the disease of the dull - we do something about it. We do more because we have to. The deck was always stacked against us. You're either a big leaguer, or you're a slave clawing your way onto the "C" train. Some people say Jack Abramoff moves too fast. Jack Abramoff cuts corners. Well, I say to them, if that's the difference between me and my family having the good life and walkin' and using the subway every day, then so be it. I will not allow my family to be slaves. I will not allow the world I touch to be vanilla. You say I'm selfish? Fuck you! I give back. I give back plenty. You say I - I got a big ego? Fuck you twice! I'm humbly grateful for the wonderful gift that I've received here in America the greatest country on this planet. I'm Jack Abramoff. And oh, yeah, I work out every day.