Casino Jack and the United States of Money
Screened Friday 23 April
Casino Jack and the United States of Money, director Alex Gibney’s follow up to his superb Enron documentary, follows a similar trail of money, power, and corruption through a winding trail of political malfeasance and irresponsibility. The scope is larger—the Jack Abramoff scandal that coursed through the halls of Congress and washed up to the very lip of the Oval Office—but the focus isn’t as tight, and though always interesting, the film loses some of its punch in an overwhelming barrage of details and stories that obfuscate, rather than illuminate, the central wrong rotting away at the center.
Jack Abramoff was a lobbyist’s lobbyist, an influence peddler of the highest caliber, who seemed to possess a preternatural ability to grease the skids and turn the tiller of power in Congress. The film posits him as the center around which a great wheel of money and corrupt influence revolved, through the ‘80s and ‘90s, before crashing down in the early 2000s in an Indian casino scandal that seemed, for a brief moment, like it would topple the Bush White House.