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American Dharma

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Groundbreaking, Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris’ unnerving new film is a probing portrait of controversial Breitbart honcho, Trump advisor, “populist” warrior and long-time cinephile, Steven K. Bannon.
Morris faces off with his subject in a Quonset hut set modeled on one of Bannon’s favorite films, the Gregory Peck WWII drama Twelve O’Clock High (that film is referenced along with works by John Ford, Stanley Kubrick and Orson Welles), and questions him about the most disturbing and divisive milestones in his career as a media-savvy libertarian/anarchist/activist, from Breitbart News’ takedown of Anthony Weiner to Bannon’s incendiary alliance with our current president to the tragic milestone of Charlottesville. Morris gives Bannon a documentary treatment comparable to his profiles of Donald Rumsfeld in The Unknown Known and Robert McNamara in The Fog of War, brilliantly deploying his flair for illustrating political dialogues with eclectic imagery. The filmmaker doesn’t hold back on his points of political disagreement with Bannon, but they also find areas of commonality. Morris says he sees a “good Bannon” and a “bad Bannon,” seeking to understand the complexity of those dual personas. American Dharma is an unflinching film, and a deeply disturbing experience. (Dir. by Errol Morris, 2018, USA, 95 mins., Rated R)

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