Review of Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer written and directed by Alex Gibney
This film came out around the same time as the documentary The Inside Job. In many ways this film is a prequil to that documentary, because before Eliot Spitzer resigned from office he was well on his way towards going after many of the individuals and companies that ultimately led to the financial meltdown. It’s too bad that his indescretions got the better of him. He was in a position to perhaps lessen the damage.
This is another winner from Alex Gibney. He works with budgets the size of feature films and the results show in the end product.
This film covers the rise and fall of Eliot Spitzer, from his days as Ney York Attorney General to Governor of New York and ultimately to his resignation after news broke that he had been using an escort service.
My take after viewing this film is that Eliot Spitzer was a smart individual who could have done a lot of good in Washington had he not slipped up. He went after companies and executives who were litteraly robbing their customers and shareholders through illegal stock transactions, fraudulent accounting practices, and excessive compensation. But Eliot had two problems. One was that he wasn’t a politician. He found out, just as Obama is finding out now, that people in Washington don’t like to have newcommers trying to change the way things are done. And just as Obama is being barraged by the media, Republican extremetists, and tea party nuts, his opponents went after him with everything they had. The extent that the political process and government power was abused to go after Eliot should apall all of us. His second mistake was that he succumed to power.
I give Eliot Spitzer credit for agreeing to be interviewed for this documentary. It was smart of him to give his side of the story. I found him to be honest and credible. He isn’t the first politician to be caught up in a sex scandal, but he certainly paid a higher price than most.
I also enjoyed hearing from some of the people from the escort service. An actress played the escort that Eliot called on the most. One of the real escorts was also interviewed. I’m not sure what her going rate was, but she would have been worth $1,000 an hour in my book, if I were going to do that sort of thing, not that I would even consider doing something like that, but if I were single and had some money to burn… Okay, you get my point.
As with other Alex Gibney films, I watched this one twice. The second time with the audio commentary. I recommend you do the same. Alex doesn’t hold anything back. He tells it like it is.