Alex Gibney, who won an Academy Award for Taxi to the Dark Side and was nominiated for Enron, is really on a roll this year. In short order, he has completed a doc titled Casino Jack about Jack Abramoff, filmed for HBO Lawrence Wright's My Trip to Al-Qaeda, and now is about to release Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer. I'll be interviewing him later today.
The surprise about the new film is that most of it focuses on his rise, not his fall—on his years of triumph as Sheriff of Wall Street, not his much shorter period as call girl client.
Those looking for sexual titillation may be disappointed, but those who love business-world muckraking will love the film (and it runs nearly two hours) for sure.
That's not to say the two aren't related. Gibney suggests that some of the financial or political enemies that Spitzer made may have dropped a dime on him, or even had him followed.
This may lead some to claim that Client 9 (that's how Spitzer was IDed in legal documents at first) shows too much sympathy for the ex-governor. But more likely it will lead viewers to get angry at Spitzer for throwing away his capacity for good. His new CNN show hardly makes up for that.
One revelation on the call girl front: Gibney suggests that Ashley Dupre may have only met the "luv gov" once. The director tracked down Spitzer's real favorite, and has an actress perform a transcription of what she said. It's nice to know Eliot didn't wear knee-high black socks to bed, after all.
Gibney is now directing a film about Lance Armstrong and naother about Ken Kesey. He is the son of the writer Frank Gibney and step-son of a man very familiar to long-time Nation readers, the Rev. William Sloane Coffin.
More later after the interview.