Sunday, November 14, 2010

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

The title pretty much says it all.  During the ‘rise’ portion of the film, we get insight on how Spitzer became governor of New York, by targeting corporate graft and greed, and in the process making enemies of powerful people like AIG CEO Hank Greenberg, Home Depot CEO Kenneth Langone, and Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, all interviewed for the movie.  But Spitzer himself owns up to his own hubris which eventually led to his downfall, as he himself compares to classic Greek mythology.  He was admittedly a member of ‘the lucky sperm club’ and had everything going for him, but let pride and power go to his head.  The ‘fall’ portion of the film details his escapades with the Emperors Club VIP escort agency, which eventually led to his disgrace and resignation as governor.
This is a very interesting doc, regardless of how much you know about Spitzer.  And unlike most docs, it didn’t feel slanted or biased one way or the other, which was refreshing.  I suspect different people will come away from this film having very different views of Spitzer.  Some will find him to be a hypocrite, while others will find him a flawed hero.  (I’ll leave it to you to guess where I stand.)
The film is not quite as slick or polished as ‘Inside Job’, another great documentary in theaters now about the collapse of the financial and real estate markets, but the story is equally fascinating.  Neither one is really necessary to rush to see on the big screen, but they make for a really good double feature on cable or DVD.
Grade:  B+

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