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YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED TOO - Film Review
Directed By Anthony Baxter
The job of a critic watching a documentary is to review the film and not the subject, so the challenge we set ourselves today is to avoid the Trump bashing.
Anthony Baxter’s film begins with the preparations for an interview with The Donald himself, which, given the subject of the documentary, is a fairly exciting prospect. The narrative then shifts to the Scottish coast near Aberdeen, where the Forbes family eke out a living on the edge of Trump’s luxury golf course. They have been without water since their contentious neighbour moved in and severed a water pipe leading to their well. The Forbes make quirky, straight talking and sympathetic protagonists, who are very often contrasted with Trump and Trump Jr. (witness the awful photographs of Jr holding a severed elephant tail, and then saying on camera that apparently shooting an elephant and taking a grisly trophy is ‘just one of those things’).
Compelling though the protagonists are (the Forbes as well as the Trump machine), Baxter’s approach is very much shooting fish in a barrel. Crucially, we never see him directly ask Trump about the Forbes’ water supply, which would give him a chance to air his side, and give us a look behind the Trump machine. We do get precious glimpses: Trump snapping his fingers at his minions to find the best mike clip for the interview; Trump Jr looking out of his depth while gamely trying to represent his father’s golf course to the locals; and a private car conversation with The Donald pointing at somebody’s house next to his land, asking other minions to ‘get rid of it’.
Baxter’s documentary is at its most intriguing when Michael Forbes (now famous as the Scottish farmer who stood up to Trump) travels to the National Republican Convention to speak to US voters on both sides. These off the cuff conversations, away from the media circus, give us a rare glimpse of what people are really feeling on the other side.
YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED TOO is less about a David and Goliath confrontation, and more about living in the shadow of the Trump machine. Nagging questions remain. How is it possible to live in a liberal democracy in the 21st Century, and cut somebody’s water off with no legal repercussions? Is there a legal fund for the Forbes family? If the authorities are on the side of the Trump machine, what does the local MP have to say? Does Trump himself even know that Forbes’ water supply has been cut off? We suspect that he does, as he has a track record of reacting poorly to any kind of opposition or criticism, and flying a Mexican flag next to his golf course is likely to cause that reaction. That aside, Baxter’s film blows a large hole in Trump’s claim that he has “joined the political arena so that the powerful can no longer beat up on the people who cannot defend themselves.”
YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED TOO is in UK Cinemas 4 November 2016.
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