If you’re a political junkie like me, you’re probably very familiar with Steve Bannon and his outsized role in electing the current occupant of the White House. This new documentary from director Alison Klayman (Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry) definitely touches on Bannon’s connections with the Donald, but a large part of the film is taken up in following him around the world as he cobbles together various far right factions into a movement based on his belief in economic nationalism. It paints a chilling picture of a dystopian future.
What is disturbing about the film and about Bannon is that he’s absolutely certain of his right to use any means necessary to push his ideology. He displays every trait of a classic sociopathy and yet he is able to function within the highest echelons of international government. And when asked about his work in the presidential election he says,”I actually thought I was doing God’s work.” But as with everything else that comes out of his mouth, you can’t be sure he actually means it. He admits that many of his ads are propaganda and that part of the strategy in the 2016 election was just to keep Trump in the news, no matter what it was about. And you get to meet his compadre, the man who introduced the Donald to Twitter!
The film follows Bannon through the 2018 mid-terms when he’s entirely blindsided by the scale of the GOP losses. Ultimately, you don’t really know who Bannon is and what makes him tick. And as with the Oscar nominated biopic Vice, I’m not sure I really want to know. He’s an evil person who cultivates relationships with Nazis and fascists, and I’m sure he loves the camera following him and hanging on his every word. True political junkies won’t learn a lot of new info here, and I’m not sure the general public will want to spend an hour plus with this guy. If we just ignore him, will he go away?