Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story

Rated 3.0

Writer-director Stefan Forbes’ slickly made documentary profile of the late, hate-inducing, intensely Machiavellian Republican strategist—impish, below-the-belt campaign wedge driver, equal-opportunity destroyer of Mike Dukakis and Bob Dole, proclaimer of pro wrestling as the only honest sport, frustratingly not-half-bad blues-guitar player—positively brims over with sour-grapes hearsay and character assassination. But you just know he deserved it, right? Yeah, as the missing link, as it were, between Strom Thurmond and Karl Rove, Atwater knew how to make him some enemies. Hopefully viewers in that camp will derive catharsis from seeing again how he got humbled and bloated and crippled and killed by brain cancer. Or maybe not: As journalist Eric Alterman observes, “Isn’t it a shame that he didn’t decide to become a Democrat? Because it would have been just as easy for him. He didn’t really believe in any of those things.” Wait, so that’s the quality you most want in the good guys?