May 26, 2010 by  

Casino Jack and the United States of Money


Casino Jack and the United States of Money

The documentary "Casino Jack and the United States of Money," directed by Oscar winner Alex Gibney, paints a balanced portrait of former congressional lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Starring: Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, Ralph Reed
Directed by: Alex Gibney (“Taxi to the Dark Side”)
Written by: Alex Gibney (“Taxi to the Dark Side”)

Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney has given audiences front row seats to witness the backdoor dealings at Enron (“Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”), learn of the secretive torture practices during the George W. Bush administration (“Taxi to the Dark Side”), and delve deep into the head of infamous journalist Dr. Hunter Thompson (“Gonzo: The Life and Works of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson”).

In his newest doc, “Casino Jack and the United States of Money,” Gibney puts a heated spotlight on former congressional “über lobbyist” Jack Abramoff, who is currently serving time behind bars for fraud, tax evasion, and bribery. Although Gibney is unable to get Abramoff on camera, the story unfolds like a classic political thriller with very few holes (if any) needing to be filled.

From his rise to power in Washington D.C. to his career of scamming lenders and ripping off Indian casinos, Gibney dissects Abramoff’s into an intriguing character without painting him as the leeching antagonist most know him as. Instead, Gibney, like he has done with his other film, presents the facts of the narrative without preaching and does it in a way to keep viewers – even those who are not politically inclined – to keep watching, thinking, and questioning the motives of elected officials in the U.S.

While it is a disheartening tale of greed and corruption at the highest levels of government, “Casino Jack” is thoroughly informative and quite baffling at times. Like a bloodhound on a paper trail, Gibney has fashioned together a solid documentary that both liberals and conservatives alike should see for themselves, even if only for research on what not to do when you get to the big show.

Grade: B

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