By Ryan Keating-Lambert

★★★★☆

Weiner is an extremely entertaining, and embarrassing,  face-palming experience. It throws you right smack in the middle of the circus that is U.S. politics, and takes the ‘fly on the wall’ approach one step further. It’s also teeming with dick jokes.

Directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, Weiner follows democrat politician Anthony Weiner in his campaign trail for New York City Mayor …after AND during a series of sexting scandals.

This documentary is remarkable and really hooks you from the get-go. With a story like this, it would be hard not to though. However, Kriegman and Steinberg have edited the film in such a way that sometimes you honestly don’t know what to think of it. You do feel sorry for him at times. After all, he’s only human.

BUT then, he does it again! Halfway through the campaign trail, the sh-t really hits the fan and Kriegman and Steinberg go in for the awkward close-ups and ask the occasional question to transcend that ‘fly on the wall’ boundary which is just so effective.

But they never get pushy or trashy enough to be considered tabloid, which they easily could have. In fact, Weiner seems to poke fun at the press and surrounding clowns just as much as the man himself. The TV news report and interview montages with questions like “What’s wrong with you?” really highlight the sensationalist approach of some programmes, as do the headline puns of newspapers such as The New York Post, which include ‘Obama Beats Weiner’, ‘Too Hard to Stop’, ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’, and ‘Huma Cuts off Weiner’.

Weiner’s ups and downs along the trail are beyond humiliating and the film builds tension at an alarming rate. It’s certainly one of the most engaging documentaries of 2016, and although we both hate and love the democrat, the person we really feel for, is his wife Huma Abedin.

Abedin, who was also one of Hillary Clinton’s closest advisers, takes the brunt of the scandals and the film sometimes follows her just as closely as Weiner. Her seemingly calm and collected approach to the press is also seen behind the scenes, but the documentary picks up on her subtle changes in self-control. As the scandals progress, she eats more and more pizza and sports a ‘I couldn’t give a sh-t anymore’ face that is just priceless too watch. The couple are no separated (no surprises there).

Weiner is ultimately the story of a man’s ridiculous addiction. It’s a real shame, because he used to have some credibility. The reliable expression ‘once bitten, twice shy’ probably doesn’t apply to this man, and this film really backs that up. Make sure you catch this one in Prague’s One World Documentary Film Festival this weekend.

Screenings:

11/03 – 14:00 – Kino Svetozor (Large Hall)

12/03 – 20:00 – Kino Atlas (Small Hall)

Photo: One World

 

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