If we’re quite honest, we’ll admit that we all relish really good gossip. Not the pathetic kind about Lindsay Lohan’s latest trip to rehab or Paris Hilton’s latest one to jail but meaty, juicy stuff about truly interesting public figures. And how juicy is Eliot Spitzer literally caught with his pants down at the Mayflower hotel in Washington, making out with a high-end prostitute? Eliot Spitzer?
The fire-spitting New York Attorney General who took on Wall Street’s white-collar criminals, big industrial polluters, and racketeering restaurants while doggedly protecting minimum wage workers and other little people as well as the environment? The above-reproach, charismatic, and tough New York Governor whose epic fights for purity and accountability in one of the most corrupt and difficult places in the nation turned every one into a potential enemy?
The very same. In “Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer,” Alex Gibney, the documentarian with more than a few excellent films under his belt, including the heartrending ”Taxi to the Dark Side” (about the torture and killing by U.S. troops of a totally innocent Afghan cab driver, Dilawar; reviewed in Screen Comment) paints a strong and dispassionate picture of the sad yet mouth-watering epic of one of the fastest downfalls in contemporary history. Eliot Spitzer was hated and feared by many of the powerful who searched high and low for the opening that would allow them to bring him down, yet, as he assesses the situation in Gibney’s documentary, he states, with the honesty that characterized most—if not all—of his actions, that no one but himself is to blame.
No matter the rage on one side and the hubris on the other, what happened goes way beyond gossip and we all lost out when that terribly gifted politician’s sleazy moniker, Client 9, became front-page fodder.