Thursday, July 28, 2011

Movie with Abe: Honest Man: The Life of R. Budd Dwyer (Capsule Review)

Honest Man: The Life of R. Budd Dwyer
Directed by James Dirschberger
On Amazon VOD & Hulu July 29, 2011

This harrowing, informative documentary chronicles the political career of R. Budd Dwyer, the treasurer of Pennsylvania who was indicted and convicted on charges of bribery before calling a press conference and committing suicide while the cameras were rolling. First-time feature-length documentary filmmaker James Dirschberger does a magnificent job of calling character witnesses to the stand to speak to Dwyer’s squeaky-clean reputation as well as a few outspoken testaments to his alleged corruptibility. Knowing Dwyer’s fate and especially seeing it gives the documentary a dark and disturbing edge, but it never loses sight of what it’s supposed to be, which is an investigation into Dwyer’s life and the trajectory which led him to take his life. Though the evidence is stacked in his favor, there’s no assertion that this must be the absolute truth. It presents the facts, and wisely and astutely lets them speak for themselves.


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