Film Reviews
'The Brink.' Film review by Diane Carson.

Whatever a viewer’s political persuasion, director Alison Klayman’s documentary 'The Brink' offers revealing insights into one of the most important political operatives working today: Steve Bannon. In surprisingly unfettered access, Bannon gives candid answers and reactions to a range of individuals, from EU countries’ ‘populist’ party leaders to reporters to attendees at receptions hoping for a private moment.

After introductory information fills in details of his 2016 directing of 'The Torchbearer' and high school and college photographs, the film jumps to Fall 2017 and the Muslim travel ban, Bannon’s idea. After Bannon makes clear that he hated every second working at the White House, that there is no glamor associated with it, the story picks up Bannon’s first candidate endorsement of Roy Moore, Moore’s loss, the rift between Trump and Bannon, and Bannon’s ouster from Breitbart News and his radio show. Most of Klayman’s film then focuses on the lead up to the 2018 mid-term elections as Bannon plans strategy and travels extensively, willing to speak to neighbors in a living room, a couple dozen interested voters at a community center, or a large rally. He says, without reservation, that Trump won because of him, and he believes others will as well, calmly advocating command by negation, fear, and anger.

From beginning to end, Bannon expresses total commitment to “the Lord’s work.” He clearly relishes the entire combative process as long as his associates do their jobs. If they don’t, he’s adamant about his demands. Perhaps most significantly, Bannon establishes COAR, the Citizens of the American Republic, a 501(c)(4) entity that receives unlimited corporation money without disclosing sources, thanks to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. He also spends considerable time strategizing with several E.U. “populist” party leaders for the 2019 E.U. Parliamentary elections. He also clearly enjoys his private plane on frequent trips.

Unrestrained, Bannon shows impatience, anger, and political savvy, while also revealing his deepest beliefs, his intelligence, and his emotional registers as encounters accumulate. Those who support and those who disagree with Bannon will learn a lot from 'The Brink' as it reveals why and how this 64-year-old political operative works and what makes him tick.

At Landmark’s Plaza Frontenac Cinema.