Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer Reviews
There was so much involved in the fall of Eliot Spitzer and that should be the main focus here. The inner workings of the politics that rule our world are both fascinating and disgusting. In the end, it's all about money and power.
Somewhere Frank Underwood is smiling proudly. Well done boys. Well done.
To my surprise, this documentary sets out to defend Spitzer. It acknowledges that Spitzer made his bed and chose to lie in it, but argues that it was his influential enemies that kicked down the door and brought in the photographers.
Filmmaker Alex Gibney has gotten access to nearly everyone in the drama. He interviews Spitzer extensively, and the Governor is rather candid... to a point. He can't deny anything, of course, but brushes aside the accusations that his approach to the law was like a rabid pit bull. Those accusations come from his enemies, who are also featured in interviews. They are also candid... to a point.
The third party in the affair is the set of call girls and managers of the escort service that the Governor patronized. They're interviewed too... and you do get to learn a few interesting things about the world of the top flight of prostitutes that earn thousands of dollars an hour. Most memorable was the call girl who said that her wealthy clients were so decent and polite that she's given up on dating because the men she meets just can't measure up to the ones she services for a living.
This movie is slick. Lighting and editing are gorgeous - and I expect that Gibney may move on to dramatic features in the future. The visual presentation also serves a thematic purpose. When one of Spitzer's self-proclaimed enemies is photographed relaxing on his Manhattan penthouse balcony, with the NYC skyline in the background - an in fact ALL of his subjects are shown in lush surroundings - the message is that this game of cowboys and indians is being played for high stakes by those with the most sophisticated weapons of power at their disposal.
1. It doesn't offer alot of cold hard facts about the truth behind Spitzer's downfall. It has a lot of circumstancial evidence and hints about what "may" have been a plan but it doesn't amount to much of a conviction. The upsetting part is that we have MANY politicians still in power to this day that have done worse and didn't go through what Spitzer did.
2. The timeline of events seemed to jump around alot. It started out nice with Eliot Spitzer delivering his speech of stepping down as a nice foreshadowing but the constant jumps between the escort segments and him taking down Wall Street tycoons (back and forth) seemed to take away from the overall suspense and can be a little confusing. I even found myself wondering why some scenes weren't used sooner or later too.
It blended a good mix of humor and straight political points too (hot poker anyone??) that get you thinking about how bad of enemies Eliot Spitzer made. It seems, through the movie, that Eliot did what Eliot wanted. As governor, he stepped on alot of toes of the wrong people but did even worse with his time as state Attorney. Good man with good intentions but victim of his own doing....in a sense. Highly recommended!
Even with Spitzer on hand to answer questions, there is really not that much insight in the documentary "Client 9" as to why Spitzer did what he did, concerning his fall from grace, thus helping to destroy the great man theory of history. Said downfall began in March 2006 when he started paying escorts for sex which was also the same time his run for governor began, immediately followed by mentions in the media of a future Presidential run. Before getting ahead of ourselves, rewind to the fact that Spitzer made a great prosecutor where his 'my way or the highway' style worked wonders but did not work as well in the state house where he was a questionable governor at best, unwilling to work with others. And maybe he knew that going in, causing him to self-destruct before things got any farther so as not to disappoint his domineering father. In fact, you could say that Spitzer had a talent for making powerful enemies(including billionaire Paul Langone, AIG CEO Hank Greenberg and State Senate Senate President Joseph Bruno)but not friends, and it should have surprised nobody that they would go after him, eventually exposing him.(By contrast, there are tons of people in this country who would give half of their reproductive organs to get anything on Ralph Nader. The end result: nothing.) And he would probably not have had to resign if he had the backing of his party which he did not. That goes back to what Sydney Biddle Barrows wrote about escorts(of which too much time is spent on in the documentary) in that it is as much about the sex as it is about companionship, especially for somebody who is so lonely.
For the record, I do believe David Paterson was mainly brought up on charges of corruption towards the end of his term of office due to his poor chances of winning election to a full term. This is one of only three conspiracy theories I actually believe in.