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BUSH’S BRAIN(director: Michael Paradies Shoob/Joseph Mealey; screenwriters: book by James C. Moore & Wayne Slater; cinematographer: Joseph Mealey; editor: Tom Siiter; music: David Friedman/Michelle Shocked; cast: Karl Rove (Himself), Jacques Vroom (Narrator); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Michael Paradies Shoob/Joseph Mealey; Tartan Release; 2004)
“A hard-hitting scary propaganda film about Karl Rove.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A hard-hitting scary propaganda film about Karl Rove, the Svengali behind the scenes adviser to George W. Bush, considered by many political pundits the brain behind the empty-headed George W. Bush and someone darker than Vice President Cheney (if that’s possible!). He’s credited with engineering W’s election as Texas governor and then President. Rove supposedly “thinks it” and ‘W’ “does it.”

This get even but even-handed documentary is co-directed by Michael Paradies Shoob and Joseph Mealey. It chronicles through use of talking heads the mean-spirited nerdy Rove’s career from high school debating champ to being adviser to both Bush presidents. Highlighted are the nasty smear tactics Rove devised in the campaigns against Texas Gov. Ann Richards and senators John McCain and Max Cleland. Rove is known for using dirty tricks such as putting a bugging device in his office to blame his candidate’s opponent, and known for following the late Lee Atwater’s strategy of destroying his opponents and acting without a moral compass. Out of vindictiveness, with no political gain in sight, he nevertheless discloses to the press the covert CIA operative who happens to be the wife of his enemy — the Republican Joseph Wilson, a former ambassador.

It is based on the book by James C. Moore & Wayne Slater, a pair of Dallas newsmen, whose aim was to tell “How Karl Rove helped George W. Bush become President.” It was released during one of the dirtiest and most intense presidential elections ever, where a divided country is asked to choose between the incumbent incompetent or the incomprehensible challenger. This film though powerful and filled with conviction and factual details, nevertheless I’m afraid is only preaching to the choir.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”