(director/writer: Kirby Dick; cinematographer: Thaddeus Wadleigh; editors: DougBlush/Matt Clarke; music: Peter Golub; Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Amy Ziering; Magnolia Pictures; 2009)
“It should be relevant to all viewers of political films, but especially meaningful to the gay community.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Kirby Dick’s (“Derrida”/”This Film Is Not Yet Rated”/”Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist”) dry but right-on-the-money exposé documentary on closeted gay political power brokers who are outed and who have built their political careers by their homophobic policies. It offers in its well-produced essay insight into the present-day political homophobia and thereby has a place of record for the recent history of hypercritical self-hating gay politicians who are exposed as acting in a most vicious way to other gays to deflect attention from themselves. The doc offers its own ethical commentary on the tagline “Don’t look, don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Those politicians outed include: Ed Schrock, Larry Craig, Jim McCrery, James McGreevey, Jim Kolbe, Ed Koch, David Dreier, Charlie Crist and Mark Foley. Activist blogger Michael Rogers has become the fox chasing the hound, as his blog aims to catch the mostly right-wing conservative, family-values politicians who are closeted gays and who do harm to the gay community through their far-reaching hypocrisy. Rogers, perhaps the most feared newsman by the corrupt pols, states he is not after invading the closeted politician’s personal life but only in exposing these hypocrites as demonically acting to perpetuate a homophobic society.
The straight-forward, humorless doc, offers a rational defense of outing the closeted politicians. There’s an underlying angry righteous indignation directed at gays who do such damage to their own. Most of the film consists of interviews with journalists and activists who reflect on that history, such as Beltway blogger Rogers, Representative Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat, America playwright Tony Kushner and, Larry Kramer, the novelist and playwright who was a founder of Act Up.
It should be relevant to all viewers of political films, but especially meaningful to the gay community.
REVIEWED ON 10/25/2009 GRADE: B https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/