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The Brink (15)
Directed by Alison Klayman
THE BRINK is a stomach-churning and at times hard to watch fly-on-the-wall documentary, with Steve Bannon coming across as a slippery Arthur Daley-style wheeler and dealer, minus the latter’s charm.
Wearing two shirts at all times, he peddles his influence and far-right wing ideology at home and abroad.
Director Alison Klayman was given unprecedented access to the White House chief strategist as she followed him from autumn 2017 to the US mid-term elections last year, travelling with him on his whistle-stop tour of Europe.
He met leaders and members of European far-right wing groups and organisations in his bid to gain support for his worldwide populist movement and the film sheds light on his efforts to unify far-right political parties and help them win seats in May’s European Parliament elections.
Klayman captures his meeting with Nigel Farage as he tries to recruit him: “We are fire breathers... we are zeitgeist,” he declares.
More disturbing are the networking lunches and dinners with numerous members of extreme far-right groups and former politicians from across the EU, along with Bannon spreading his message and preaching to the converted in a plethora of gatherings and conferences worldwide.
Bannon claims he was responsible for getting Donald Trump into office and bringing a far-right ideology and nationalism into the US administration.
He left the White House just days after the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. There is “no glamour to the job... I hated every second there,” he states. “The West Wing had a bad karma to it.”
Yet, dubbed “sloppy Steve” by the president, he speaks warmly of him. “Donald Trump is a historical figure and Donald Trump is a transformational president and Donald Trump is going to be in your personal life thirty years from now,” he declares. Let’s hope not.
Bannon is shown for the short-tempered master manipulator he is, using the press to his own advantage by sparking endless headlines. Yet, though confronted and grilled by journalists, he is Teflon man — nothing sticks to him.
This film won’t change your mind about Bannon but it will confirm what a sleazy and Machiavellian character he is.
Like me, you may want to rush to the nearest shower after watching this and wash him clean away.
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