Cast: Eliot Spitzer, Kim Allen, Wrenn Schmidt, Laura Somma
Director: Alex Gibney
Suny Purchase '11
"When life gives you lemons, you clone those lemons and make super-lemons." -Clone High
Review By: Tom Herrmann
In early 2008, there was no news more prevalent in the state of New York than that of a sex scandal involving then governor, Eliot Spitzer. A politician and former Attorney General with a passion for taking on both Wall Street and New York state government found himself the center of attention after being exposed as a client of a high-end prostitution ring. Client 9 is a documentary about the scandal that led to Spitzer’s downfall and resignation, but also about his upbringing and his reputation prior to these besmirching events.
From a young age, Spitzer was taught the ways of business through high pressure games of Monopoly with his father. His father once tricked him into selling him Boardwalk and Park Place, and then proceeded to foreclose on him. This was to teach him that in business you can’t trust anybody. As the documentary progresses interviews with other politicians, both friends and foes, leave one to infer that the story of Spitzer’s shameful digressions was not leaked on accident.
The story of Spitzer’s life and career is carried well through Client 9 . The pacing of the documentary breaks up subjects: going from details on the scandal, to his personal and political life, and back and forth. This style helps keep the viewer’s attention by not overwhelming them with information, and keeps any one opinion from coming over too strong. After they finish praising his hard knocks style of prosecuting big business you are reminded of his incredibly poor choices. Opinions of the interviewees aren’t as varied. They are either extremely for or against Spitzer with no in between. Some paint him as an overly aggressive villain who got what he had coming, and others acted like all he did was have sex: neither side seeing the reasonable middle ground.
The features on this DVD aren’t put together with the same finesse. The features are more of what has been shown. There are deleted scenes, which are clips from interviews that were left out because they are superfluous. There are also extended interviews, which could be categorized as deleted scenes because there is no real difference. The feature called HDNet: A look at Client 9 is also a letdown. What seems to be a behind the scenes feature ends up being a four minute trailer that happens to have interview clips with director Alex Gibney. These clips are taken from another feature Interview with Writer/Director Alex Gibney. These features do add to the experience of the DVD, but it is as if the distributers wanted to trick people into thinking it offered more than it does.
As a New Yorker, Client 9 was a documentary of great interest. Finally getting details directly from the sources, Spitzer, the prostitutes, the management of the prostitution rings, other positions and so on, the issue seems less cut and dry than