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Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (2010)

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An in-depth look at the rise and fall of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, including interviews with the scandalized, former politician.

Director:

Alex Gibney

Writer:

Alex Gibney
8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alex Gibney ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
Eliot Spitzer ... Himself - Former Governor, New York
Hulbert Waldroup Hulbert Waldroup ... Himself - Painter
Lloyd Constantine Lloyd Constantine ... Himself - Former Spitzer Advisor
Peter Elkind Peter Elkind ... Himself - Author, Rough Justice: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer
Darren Dopp Darren Dopp ... Himself - Spitzer Communications Director
Zana Brazdek Zana Brazdek ... Herself - Formerly of Emperors Club VIP
Natalia Natalia ... Herself - Former Escort
Ashley Dupré Ashley Dupré ... Herself - Escort (archive footage)
David Brown David Brown ... Himself - Former Spitzer Staff Lawyer
Noreen Harrington Noreen Harrington ... Herself - Former Executive, Stern Asset Management
Wrenn Schmidt ... Angelina
Kenneth Langone Kenneth Langone ... Himself - Chairman & CEO, Invemed Associates (as Ken Langone)
Hank Greenberg ... Himself - Former Chairman and CEO AIG (as Maurice 'Hank' Greenberg)
Richard Beattie Richard Beattie ... Himself - Legal Counsel to the Independent Directors of AIG
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Storyline

Documentary on the rise of Eliot Spitzer, first as Attorney General and then Governor of New York and his subsequent downfall due to a sex scandal. Spitzer had a hard driving, take no prisoners approach to prosecuting criminals. When he focused his efforts on Wall Street, he came up against some very powerful men. The chink in his armor was an escort whom he met regularly. When the fact that he spent time with a prostitute became public the knives came out so to speak, and Spitzer found himself isolated, resigning the Governorship. At one point, Spitzer recounts the story of a friend who gave him a t-shirt with 'Hubris is Terminal' printed on the front. A fitting epitaph somehow for his political career. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Money. Sex. Power. Betrayal. See more »

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual material, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 March 2011 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Eliot Spitzer Project See more »

Filming Locations:

New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,962, 7 November 2010

Gross USA:

$189,416

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$192,870
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When former Eliot Spitzer escort 'Angelina' did not wish to appear on camera, the director hired actress Wrenn Schmidt to portray her. See more »

Connections

References Terminator Salvation (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

Flawed but worthwhile, and unabashedly sympathetic.
7 September 2011 | by kayaker36See all my reviews

This two hour depiction of the rise and sudden fall of a dedicated public servant is built around two interviews: one with Eliot Spitzer himself, post-resignation, the other with a young actress playing the part of one "Angelina", a high class prostitute. Angelina claims to have had many "appointments" with Gov. Spitzer in many cities, while it was a mere one night stand with "Kristin" who got all the publicity.

Here we see the first of several, perhaps unavoidable, flaws in the documentary: reliance on weak sources whose statements cannot be independently verified. As no one is talking, not the FBI, the federal prosecutors nor Spitzer himself, you cannot know if "Angelina" is making the whole story up. However, her account does not defame the ex-Governor, paint him as sexually perverted or even ungentlemanly. She also voices harsh skepticism of "Kristin" and other girls in the life who claim victimhood currently or in the past.

The format is the standard Talking Heads with some news footage thrown in. Documentarian Gibney cannot resist resorting to lurid shots of scantily dressed women and a hip hop soundtrack when exploring the half-world of high end prostitution. Guess he felt he needed to sex it up in order to sell the film but to me this seemed cheap and frivolous.

With its evident bias in favor of its subject, the film mentions only in passing how Elliott Spitzer's own self-righteousness and abrasive behavior during his year as Governor may have left him without a friend in Albany when he badly needed friends. Admittedly, the State capital was a sinkhole of corruption and waste, but Spitzer's demeanor, like Christ come to cleanse the Temple, was probably the wrong way to go about reforming it.

There is an ample cast of villains -- though why these agreed to be interviewed for this documentary remains a mystery -- including former chairman and c.e.o. of insurance giant A.I.G., Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, Joseph Bruno, former Majority Leader of the New York State Senate (later convicted on federal corruption charges) and even a few words from Wall Street mega-millionaires Ralph Langone and Richard Grasso, bitter and powerful enemies from when Spitzer as Attorney General tried to rein in their insatiable GREED.

The film implies that the current fiscal crisis might have been averted had former Sheriff of Wall Street Spitzer remained in the Governor's mansion. This is doubtful, as doubtful as the claim by Hank Greenberg that A.I.G. would be a solvent company today instead of in federal receivership had he not been kicked out by his own board of directors following revelations by Attorney General Spitzer of accounting irregularities. The abuses Spitzer went after, such as executive compensation and price fixing, were not what caused the fiscal crisis of 2008. That was a result of risky loans and overvalued real estate which, ironically, was what the Spitzer family money was based on.

The ex-governor is shown to be repentant, chastened, fit to return to public service even if the White House now is out of reach. His vices, the documentary seems to say, are only those natural to a man. That Eliot Spitzer can be arraigned for hypocrisy, having himself prosecuted prostitution rings, gets perhaps twenty words in the whole film.


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