Former Mayor Ed Koch is the quintessential New Yorker. Still ferocious, charismatic, and hilariously blunt, the now 87-year-old Koch ruled New York from 1978 to 1989-a down-and-dirty decade of grit, graffiti, near-bankruptcy and rampant crime. First-time filmmaker (and former Wall Street Journal reporter) Neil Barsky has crafted an intimate and revealing portrait of this intensely private man, his legacy as a political titan, and the town he helped transform. The tumult of his three terms included a fiercely competitive 1977 election; an infamous 1980 transit strike; the burgeoning AIDS epidemic; landmark housing renewal initiatives; and an irreparable municipal corruption scandal. Through candid interviews and rare archival footage, Koch thrillingly chronicles the personal and political toll of running the world's most wondrous city in a time of upheaval and reinvention. (c) Zeitgeist Films … More
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Critic Reviews for Koch
Both as a portrait of a changing New York City and the man who was at the epicentre of that evolution for over a decade, Koch is a delight.
Forget "A Tale of Two Cities:" - the documentary "Koch" is a tale of two mayors. At LEAST two.
The film neither glorifies nor vilifies. Instead, it treats triumphs and controversies with equal balance.
A fascinating, multi-faceted look at a very complicated man, a quintessential New Yorker who was both an uncommonly skilled politician and, at times, a tremendous jerk.
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.
The gift of Koch is that it embraces the clutter and volume of opinion about the man.
What he really was was one of a kind. Whether intentionally or not, "Koch" shows that that's not necessarily a bad thing.
First-time filmmaker Neil Barsky does a generally remarkable job shuttling back and forth between clips from archival footage...and an intimate 2010 interview he conducted of Koch.
Neil Barsky's contentious documentary turns into a celebratory eulogy for the outspoken, opportunistic octogenarian.
Barsky gained Koch's cooperation on the film -- the filmmaker interviewed his subject extensively -- yet his portrait of the man shows both his good and bad sides.
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.
The former mayor is an alert onscreen presence, but the film surrounding him is not always so lively.
"How'm I doin'?" Koch famously asked anyone and everyone he passed by, rarely hanging around for the answer. In "Koch," for the most part, he does all right.
The rise and fall from grace of a good Jewish boy gone bad who ostensibly sold out the Big Apple but never summoned up the courage to come out of the closet.
"Koch" is a treasure trove of little moments that illuminate a famously cantankerous, sharp-elbowed, showboating personality.
Audience Reviews for Koch
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