RESISTANCE CINEMA Presents “CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY” Magnolia Pictures, Produced and Directed by Alex Gibney, ( 2009, 118 min)
WHEN: Sunday April 3, 2011 1:15 PM
WHERE: Community Church NY, Gallery Room, 28 East 35th st. bet. Park & Madison Aves.
ADMISSION: Free, donations appreciated
This portrait of Washington super lobbyist Jack Abramoff—from his early years as a gung-ho member of the GOP political machine to his final reckoning as a disgraced, imprisoned pariah—confirms the adage that truth is indeed stranger than fiction. A tale of international intrigue with Indian casinos, Russian spies, Chinese sweatshops, luxurious political junkets and cruises, and a mob-style killing in Miami, this is a story that goes far beyond the personal corruption of a handful of rogue individuals but points to the much broader issue of the way money corrupts our political process. In the end the critical question that looms large is this: Did Jack Abramoff corrupt the system or did the system itself create Jack Abramoff?
Following the ongoing indictments of federal officials and exposing favor trading in our nation's capital, Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney illuminates the way our politicians' desperate need to get elected—and the millions of dollars it costs—may be undermining the basic principles of American democracy. Using an ingenious labyrinth of intermediaries from front firms, dummy foundations, and indirect back door payments, Abramoff was able to establish a flow of cash that reached a vast network of both national and global clients from politicians to political cronies to private businesses.
A cautionary tale of greed and corruption, it is particularly relevant in view of the Supreme Court's Citizen's United decision and the return of House rule to many of the same Republicans that were part of the wrecking crew during the Abramoff era. Infuriating, yet undeniably fun to watch, CASINO JACK is a saga of greed and corruption with a cynical villain audiences will love to hate. While the sheer audacity of Abramoff may be shocking, there’s no doubt that he is a charismatic character who provokes a perverse fascination. Gibney succeeds in harnessing this quality and allows it to drive the film forward without a letup.