Alex Gibney’s hugely entertaining Eliot Spitzer doc, Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Elliot Spitzer, is a leading contender for this year’s doc Oscar. The movie is full of surprises. In my flip cam interview with Gibney (below) he explains how the story he tells turned out far different from what he thought it would be, and why Wall Street Masters of the Universe were so eager to go on camera to chortle over Spitzer’s dramatic comedown: “They wanted to stamp on Spitzer’s grave,” Gibney admits. ‘It’s not stretching the truth to say they hated this man.”
Here’s Meredith Brody’s TIFF review:
Alex Gibney’s mesmerizing Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer reveals such a likable and reflective Eliot Spitzer that it might well be part of “the rise and fall and rise” of Spitzer. We’re reminded of how effective he was as New York State’s Attorney General, especially in prosecuting Wall Street financial malfeasance, before he became New York’s 54th governor and ran afoul both of its old-crony Albany politics and his own political and sexual hubris. Fun fact: he seems to have spent only one fateful encounter with Ashley Dupre, who used the scandal to further her own career. Gibney uncovered an “escort” who spent much more time with Spitzer, interviewed her extensively, and hired an actress to deliver those lines. Spitzer has returned to public life with speaking engagements and appearances on television, and CNN has announced that he’ll soon head a new “Crossfire”-like show for them.
Gibney won the Oscar for his Taxi to the Dark Side in 2007 (about US torture practices in Iraq and Afghanistan), a year when Charles’ Ferguson’s No End in Sight, about the war in Iraq (on which Gibney had an executive producer credit) was also nominated. This year they might well find themselves going head-to-head again, with Ferguson’s excellent Inside Job, about the causes of the global financial meltdown, up against Client 9.
Thompson and Gibney Part One: