You’ve Been Trumped (2011)
Dir: Anthony Baxter
I finished watching the ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ Season 3 just a few days ago, a show with the looming presence of ‘Boss’ Donald Trump, so this was a nice follow-up from that.
This feature-length documentary film shows the building of a massive golf resort by Trump in Scotland (a project that has been ongoing for the past few years), and the resistance of a few locals whose properties and way of life are being threatened by the development. The struggles between both parties are dynamic and fierce, this isn’t a case of watching two sets of lawyers or representatives discussing matters around a table, but rather protests and personal comments even from Donald Trump himself.
The situation is incredibly similar to the 1983 comedy ‘Local Hero’ which I watched a few months ago. This documentary is possibly constructed slightly to magnify the similarities between the two, and even uses quite a number of clips from the film then puts them alongside the close reality. I don’t think that’s really a weakness or a flaw to this, as it helps to distinguish this from any standard TV documentary programme. Unlike some other documentary film makers, such as Michael Moore (who incidentally acclaimed it), Anthony Baxter and his colleague aim to stay off camera and quiet for much of it, though they are thrust forcefully into the narrative at one point by police. Their narrating and explaining of the events is done mostly by the testimony of those interviewed, and through a few short and understated words at the bottom of the screen every now and again.
Donald Trump hates this film, and very foolishly helped to get it trending on Twitter by his protesting it being shown by the BBC last year. I get the feeling that he though a savvy businessman and property tycoon, makes some unwise choices regarding things he’s passionate about. For example, on ‘The Celebrity Apprentice’ one contestant was Rod Blagojevich, a former politician, who at the time was being investigated for corruption. Trump made numerous references to the ongoing investigation (even at one point asking other contestants if they thought he was guilty) and praised Blagojevich. I thought it was strange to put someone accused of such serious crimes on a a major national podium, as that show is, while they are under investigation, and then even more so to refer to the investigation so glibly. Rod Blagojevich was found guilty of his crimes in 2011 and sentenced to 14-years in a federal prison.
Impartiality is a tricky thing to achieve, and Anthony Baxter, though he says at one point he’s not looking for an angle on the story rather trying to document it, I feel was pushed into a position, which comes across in the documentary. In all fairness, I imagine I would be too, watch the film to see exactly why.