THE BRINK, from Magnolia Pictures, is Alison Klayman’s (Ai Weiwei, etc.) fly-on-the-wall portrait of a scarily confident, seemingly candid Steve Bannon — former Trump chief strategist — as he strategizes some more , takes meetings, and lectures but this time for a global alt-right takeover, schmoozing with a handful of well-known far-right European leaders welcoming his help and ideology with open arms, if not open minds.
Credited with putting Trump into the White House (and for many, the ensuing hell), Bannon was shown the White House door in 2017. Klayman, afforded great access, follows him to Europe and across America, making clear that Bannon, like Trump, can’t get enough media attention and wields his mouth like a weapon.
This spectacle features an unleashed, free-range firebrand as he rallies fellow Americans to his populist cause (wasn't "populist" once a nice word?), consults with assistants and mentors like former top Goldman Sachs executive John Thornton or travels domestically to lecture plain Republican folk or abroad to meet with far-right major European political figures in places like Hungary, the U.K., Italy, etc. (A number of Far Right "stars" France's Marine Le Pen get their screen time.) His global mission here is to help far-right parties gain seats in the upcoming May 2019 European Parliamentary elections.
A keen manipulator, gifted self-promoter, and fearless, shameless showman, Bannon is good "screen copy," even convincing when he fakes vulnerability and modesty and cannily dodges any clues to the sources of his multi-million dollar effort to flip the whole world.
Intended or not, Klayman delivers a riveting Bannon doc that will appeal to both his fans and detractors and no doubt to Bannon himself.
Some scans of Bannon’s brain (e.g., only winning matters, anger and hate motivate, etc.) and his m.o. (e.g., no publicity is bad, no photo opp is to be missed, etc.) reveal no pathology but do provoke getting second opinions.
Dramatic threads add oomph, especially as Bannon, in a lead up, salivates for a big Republican mid-term victory “that will end one-party rule” but ends as his “bad night” when Democrats win.
Unlike Hitler or Goebbels, Bannon betrays a genuine sense of humor (e.g., with no nasty edge, he likens being in the White House to experiencing a New Jersey strip club at one in the afternoon).
With great pacing, shot selection, and storytelling mojo, Klayman delivers her political animal as chilling circus act — what could become the greatest showdown on earth, were Bannon to have his way.