It's safe to say that Alex Gibney is easily among the five best documentary filmmakers in America, if not the world, with Michael Moore and Errol Morris as his closest competition. In 2006, his documentary Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room was nominated for an Oscar and won an Independent Spirit Award. Two years later, Taxi to the Dark Side, Gibney's powerful documentary about an Afghan taxi driver who was swept up in the war on terror and was tortured to death in an Afghan prison, won the Oscar for best documentary feature, along with several other awards. (Watch my ReThink Review of Taxi to the Dark Side here.)
This year has shaped up to perhaps be Gibney's busiest. His documentary about superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, Casino Jack and the United States of Money, premiered at 2010's Sundance Film Festival, followed by the April premiere of Freakonomics, a documentary in four sections (from four teams of directors) based on the best-selling book. Gibney's contribution, Pure Corruption, which explores allegations of cheating in the world of sumo wrestling, was the strongest by far. (Watch my review of Freakonomics here.)
November 5 will see the release of Gibney's third directorial project of 2010, a documentary entitled Client 9: the Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer. While most only know Spitzer as America's most famous escort service customer, Client 9 goes several layers deeper, taking you through the years before the scandal when Spitzer was New York's Attorney General and was known as "the Sheriff of Wall Street" for boldly taking on America's most powerful financial institutions. After winning a landslide victory for governor, Spitzer emerged as one of the democrats' brightest stars, with some believing that he could someday be America's first Jewish president. As we know, those dreams came to an end when the New York Times broke the story of Spitzer's liaisons with escorts. But as Client 9 shows, while Spitzer is clearly at fault for his indiscretions, the nature of the investigation that exposed them along with the media coverage that condemned him shows signs of a coordinated effort by the powerful enemies Spitzer made in both the political and financial worlds -- an alliance that would eventually help destroy the world's economy.
I had the great honor of speaking with Gibney about Client 9 and some other topics. Check out my interview with him below.
Gibney on why republicans seem to suffer fewer repercussions from their sex/infidelity scandals, Gibney's interest in stories of corruption and self-deception, and who Gibney would make a documentary about if he wanted to tell the story of the economic meltdown.
On Lawrence of Arabia, other films that influenced him, and Gibney's love for film noir.
For more about CLIENT 9, visit Client9theMovie.com http://client9themovie.com/
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