Sundance London 2019 Preview - The Brink
Dir: Alison Klayman
Starring Steve Bannon, Nigel Farage, Raheem Kassam
As head of his campaign, the somewhat horrendous Steve Bannon likes to lay claim to being the man who got Donald Trump elected. As time moves on however, it seems more and more likely that Trump was somehow inevitable, with or without Bannon. Which doesn’t mean this isn’t a fascinating portrait of a man, so convinced of his own extreme right-wing principles as to be almost impervious to any form of criticism. Even cinematically.
Klayman’s film sees her follow Bannon after his fall from grace with the Trump administration – the Donald labelling him “Sloppy Joe” in subsequent tweets – as he travels through Europe with the intent of uniting its various intercontinental nationalist factions, most notably the UK’s Nigel Farage. Under the term of “populist,” Bannon and the people he meets with are capable of saying, or certainly implying, some very basic and very unpleasant thoughts, and for reasons best known to himself (although ego is a safe bet) Bannon gives Klayman remarkable access, allowing himself to be caught (out?) on camera in many moments that show the man’s sense of contradiction, as much as his blind faith in such polarising politics.
The movie then shifts its attention away from Europe and back to the US, as the analyst, by now having been ousted from his own Breitbart News Network and having lost his confrontational talk radio show, attempts to reassert his influence in helping shape the 2018 mid-terms, the elections that saw the Republicans sorely damaged. Yet, Bannon remains defiant and convinced of his own beliefs…
It’s only a year since Bannon was the subject of Errol Morris’s American Dharma, but this is an equally fascinating and perhaps even more timely piece.
Scary man, scary movie.
The Brink plays Sundance London 2019 on June 1 & 2