Morgan Pehme and Daniel DiMauro, directors of The Swamp, a Kushner-focused episode of Dirty Money, and 2017's Roger Stone documentary/accidental Frankenstein reboot, have done a lot of work documenting the rogues’ gallery who currently control the American government. Now, despite thinking he “was done making movies about Trumpland,” Pehme has worked with DiMauro again to release Trump A.C./D.C., a short documentary about the president’s disastrous bid to become an Atlantic City casino tycoon.
Unlike the other, much cooler AC/DC, the story of Trump’s Atlantic City casinos does not, in any way, rock. “I like to win, I like to achieve, I like to whatever,” he says at the beginning before the documentary goes on to show how in the late ‘80s that “whatever” took the form of a whole lot of lost money.
We see interviews where Trump describes his tactic of borrowing huge sums of money for casino investments at high interest with the idea that his cash flow, hampered by the enormous spending put into his operations, will survive recessions. We also see how Atlantic City suffered during the era, how his poor planning eventually resulted in his casinos’ failure, and how Trump managed to bullshit his way through to the other side of financial ruin.
There are the usual, Tiresias-style tragic prophecies about how this New York businessman could one day become president as well as now-familiar kinds of interviews where Trump gets hostile when asked unflattering questions. What’s most depressing, though, is seeing how, decades ago, Trump was still managing to get through crises with his livelihood and reputation somehow intact just by lying and screwing over those with less influence than him.
DiMauro writes that he and Pehme “see this as the final film in our Trumpworld quadrilogy.” For the sake of their mental health, we hope they’re right.
Trump A.C./D.C. is available for free on Vimeo.
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