Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer

Rated 3.0

Filmmaker Alex Gibney profiles the former New York governor, self-described “Sheriff of Wall Street” and scandal-ruined call-girl habitué whose crusade against white-collar crime either exacerbated the global financial crisis or could have prevented it, depending on who’s being asked. Anyway, add one more to the crowded pantheon of elected public servants exposed as moralizing hypocrites. Says Spitzer himself, early on, “This goes back to the days of Greek mythology. This is not … a new story.” So is that shame, or pride? And does it obviate a documentary, or demand one? He even moots the point of whether “powerful enemies” played a role in his downfall. Yet Gibney persists, lumbering through the same hollowly rhetorical spur that got him started on Jack Abramoff in Casino Jack, piling up cheesy music cues and silly props (we learn that Spitzer’s father beat him—at Monopoly) and finding inspiration by cutting grubby Girls Gone Wild footage against pious campaign commercials. It all works up to the depressingly perfect ending of Spitzer’s so-called favorite hooker singing a Christmas carol to Geraldo Rivera.