Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer: movie review

'Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer' takes aim at the former governor's enemies.

Nathaniel Brooks/Magnolia Pictures
Gov. Eliot Spitzer prepares to talk at a conference in Albany, N.Y., March 4, 2008. A week later, he told insiders of his involvement in a prostitution ring.

Alex Gibney's documentary about the sordid downfall of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who resigned in March 2008 after admitting he patronized an escort service, tries mightily to make the case that Spitzer was brought down by his political enemies – including Ken Langone, former head of the compensation board of the New York Stock Exchange, and "Hank" Greenberg, former head of AIG. (Both men, as well as Spitzer and many of the other players in this drama, are interviewed.)

Since Spitzer, especially as state attorney general, had mercilessly prosecuted Wall Street and insurance company corruption, Gibney's charge does not seem misplaced, even though he sometimes loses sight of the fact that Spitzer ultimately brought this all on himself.

Spitzer, in his on-camera interviews, certainly doesn't lose sight of it.

At the same time, his prescience about the imminent Wall Street meltdown, and the ensuing revelations about AIG, make you wonder if things might have turned out differently for the country if Spitzer had somehow stayed "sheriff of Wall Street."

After all, as Gibney demonstrates in "Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer," plenty of politicians – from Bill Clinton to Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana – remained in office amid similar revelations. Grade: B+ (Rated R for some sexual material, nudity, and language.)


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