Oct 26, 2021
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Front Page, Industry News

REVIEWED – Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

“It’s a classic tale of an individual who appears to have been caught by hubris… It goes back to Greek mythology. It’s not a new story,” says Eliot Spitzer to the camera.

He’s right. The story of a man with wealth and power who gets caught with a prostitute is not a new one. We’ve all seen it before. We’ve seen it ad nauseam. So why watch this one? Well, perhaps because Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer is directed by Oscar-winning documentary writer-director, Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, 2007); or perhaps because the canny director uses this story only as a backdrop to a much more interesting story.

Gibney begins the film by flashing back to Spitzer’s district attorney days, setting up the character of the man: his infamous rages, his championing of ethics, and his headline-making relentless crusade against corporate corruption that would lead him to the heights and depths of his career. When he became the New York State Attorney General, long before the global financial meltdown, Spitzer garnered the nickname The Sheriff of Wall Street as he aimed his patented crusade towards exposing the reckless crimes of fat-cat Wall Street bankers, those men used to operating outside of any sense of moral obligation or control. 

“I brought myself down,” declares Spitzer, but the film raises some very interesting questions about whether Humpty was given a push. While Gibney doesn’t have actual red-hands, he does have interviews with all of Spitzer’s high-powered enemies, who were only too happy to dance on his reputational grave. You can practically hear the Hollywoodesque fat-cat shout of “get me some dirt on that guy!”

For those who are very interested in the scandal itself: Gibney found and interviewed Angelina, Spitzer’s true favorite escort, whose comments shed some light not only on the man himself, but the industry as well. The interview was transcribed, then performed by an actress, because Angelina did not want her identity revealed. On that choice Gibney had this to say: “Initially, I was going to do it the old-fashioned way: putting her in shadow and electronically altering her voice. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt that wouldn’t give an authentic sense of who she really is. Angelina is someone who doesn’t look anything like what we usually imagine a hooker looks like. She’s a very pretty young woman who is quite compelling and sympathetic, and, in contrast to the tremendous number of lies I was told during the making of this film, she is a truth-teller. Yet, I knew if we put her in shadow, she would come off as a criminal. We would instantly turn her into a sinister figure – and it was important to me that this not happen.”

Like all scandals, it draws us in and distracts us from the real issues that we should have been paying attention to, explains Gibney, “after all, which is more devastating: that Eliot Spitzer had sex with a prostitute or that the global financial system was about to collapse?”

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitze
r is now playing at select cinemas in Toronto and Montreal.

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Front Page, Industry News

REVIEWED – Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

“It’s a classic tale of an individual who appears to have been caught by hubris… It goes back to Greek mythology. It’s not a new story,” says Eliot Spitzer to the camera.

He’s right. The story of a man with wealth and power who gets caught with a prostitute is not a new one. We’ve all seen it before. We’ve seen it ad nauseam. So why watch this one? Well, perhaps because Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer is directed by Oscar-winning documentary writer-director, Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, 2007); or perhaps because the canny director uses this story only as a backdrop to a much more interesting story.

Gibney begins the film by flashing back to Spitzer’s district attorney days, setting up the character of the man: his infamous rages, his championing of ethics, and his headline-making relentless crusade against corporate corruption that would lead him to the heights and depths of his career. When he became the New York State Attorney General, long before the global financial meltdown, Spitzer garnered the nickname The Sheriff of Wall Street as he aimed his patented crusade towards exposing the reckless crimes of fat-cat Wall Street bankers, those men used to operating outside of any sense of moral obligation or control. 

“I brought myself down,” declares Spitzer, but the film raises some very interesting questions about whether Humpty was given a push. While Gibney doesn’t have actual red-hands, he does have interviews with all of Spitzer’s high-powered enemies, who were only too happy to dance on his reputational grave. You can practically hear the Hollywoodesque fat-cat shout of “get me some dirt on that guy!”

For those who are very interested in the scandal itself: Gibney found and interviewed Angelina, Spitzer’s true favorite escort, whose comments shed some light not only on the man himself, but the industry as well. The interview was transcribed, then performed by an actress, because Angelina did not want her identity revealed. On that choice Gibney had this to say: “Initially, I was going to do it the old-fashioned way: putting her in shadow and electronically altering her voice. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt that wouldn’t give an authentic sense of who she really is. Angelina is someone who doesn’t look anything like what we usually imagine a hooker looks like. She’s a very pretty young woman who is quite compelling and sympathetic, and, in contrast to the tremendous number of lies I was told during the making of this film, she is a truth-teller. Yet, I knew if we put her in shadow, she would come off as a criminal. We would instantly turn her into a sinister figure – and it was important to me that this not happen.”

Like all scandals, it draws us in and distracts us from the real issues that we should have been paying attention to, explains Gibney, “after all, which is more devastating: that Eliot Spitzer had sex with a prostitute or that the global financial system was about to collapse?”

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitze
r is now playing at select cinemas in Toronto and Montreal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

REVIEWED – Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

By TO411 staff writer Daisy Maclean

“It’s a classic tale of an individual who appears to have been caught by hubris… It goes back to Greek mythology. It’s not a new story,” says Eliot Spitzer to the camera.

He’s right. The story of a man with wealth and power who gets caught with a prostitute is not a new one. We’ve all seen it before. We’ve seen it ad nauseam. So why watch this one? Well, perhaps because Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer is directed by Oscar-winning documentary writer-director, Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, 2007); or perhaps because the canny director uses this story only as a backdrop to a much more interesting story.

Gibney begins the film by flashing back to Spitzer’s district attorney days, setting up the character of the man: his infamous rages, his championing of ethics, and his headline-making relentless crusade against corporate corruption that would lead him to the heights and depths of his career. When he became the New York State Attorney General, long before the global financial meltdown, Spitzer garnered the nickname The Sheriff of Wall Street as he aimed his patented crusade towards exposing the reckless crimes of fat-cat Wall Street bankers, those men used to operating outside of any sense of moral obligation or control. 

“I brought myself down,” declares Spitzer, but the film raises some very interesting questions about whether Humpty was given a push. While Gibney doesn’t have actual red-hands, he does have interviews with all of Spitzer’s high-powered enemies, who were only too happy to dance on his reputational grave. You can practically hear the Hollywoodesque fat-cat shout of “get me some dirt on that guy!”

For those who are very interested in the scandal itself: Gibney found and interviewed Angelina, Spitzer’s true favorite escort, whose comments shed some light not only on the man himself, but the industry as well. The interview was transcribed, then performed by an actress, because Angelina did not want her identity revealed. On that choice Gibney had this to say: “Initially, I was going to do it the old-fashioned way: putting her in shadow and electronically altering her voice. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt that wouldn’t give an authentic sense of who she really is. Angelina is someone who doesn’t look anything like what we usually imagine a hooker looks like. She’s a very pretty young woman who is quite compelling and sympathetic, and, in contrast to the tremendous number of lies I was told during the making of this film, she is a truth-teller. Yet, I knew if we put her in shadow, she would come off as a criminal. We would instantly turn her into a sinister figure – and it was important to me that this not happen.”

Like all scandals, it draws us in and distracts us from the real issues that we should have been paying attention to, explains Gibney, “after all, which is more devastating: that Eliot Spitzer had sex with a prostitute or that the global financial system was about to collapse?”

Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitze
r is now playing at select cinemas in Toronto and Montreal.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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