Watch it now
News & Interviews for Koch
Critic Reviews for Koch
He was certainly combative, and confident, and full of love for the city he governed with such gusto. Koch is a New York story for the whole world to appreciate.
What he really was was one of a kind. Whether intentionally or not, "Koch" shows that that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Though the film, more than two years in the making, was never intended as such, it plays like the kind of eulogy Koch would have approved - neither fawning nor eviscerating but always compelling.
The film advances no theories to explain his contradictions, only a thrilling, sometimes affecting account of what he did.
Audience Reviews for Koch
"Koch" is an informative documentary about Edward I. Koch(1924-2013), the mayor of New York City from 1977 to 1989. He started by saving the city from bankruptcy while starting a troublesome trend of making the city more welcome to tourists and suburbanites than its own people. Throughout, his outsized personality proved perfect for the city's tabloids, as his politics became more conservative than those when he was a congressman representing just Greenwich Village.(By contrast, Kirsten Gillibrand's politics are much more liberal now that she is representing New York State as a Senator.) But his working both ends against the middle would eventually politically doom him.(If you want to see what New York City looked like in 1989, watch "Do the Right Thing.)
The biggest failure of his time in office was not doing enough during the AIDS crisis, with the Gay Men's Health Crisis picking up the slack in handling services that the city should have provided. As far as Koch's sexuality(or lack of) goes, I agree in an absolute sense of privacy but since Koch was publicly and proudly Jewish, shouldn't his sexuality be on the same level?
Overall, "Koch" does a good job of chronicling his life and times, with many then current conversations with the man himself, as the Queensboro Bridge is renamed in his honor. At the same time, the filmmakers could have cast a wider net in interview subjects, not just talking to his allies. For example, it would have helped if they at least also talked to Jimmy Breslin and Al Sharpton. And I know it's just a curious footnote, but I would also have liked to have seen more on his acting appearances that went beyond his hosting Saturday Night Live.
Barsky may have been a little too nice to Ed Koch with this film, but I appreciate the desire to openly examine his administration in all of it's little and big contradictions.
Discuss Koch on our Movie forum!