(Cloudburst Entertainment, PG-13)
***1/2 out of **** (3 and1/2 Out of 4 Stars)
A constant irritant to the left (particularly those in the entertainment press), the India-born writer and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza is the conservative, less-slovenly version of Michael Moore.
Like Moore, D’Souza is preaching to his choir and is unlikely to ever convince entrenched Democrats to abandon ship, but he could snare a few independents still on the fence prior to next month’s general election. Unlike Moore, D’Souza favors the frequent use of dramatic re-enactments which detract somewhat from the documentary blueprint, yet he more than makes up for it by adhering to the facts and presenting an abundance of experts to support his arguments.
While D’Souza’s latest feature "Trump Card" works well as a stand-alone movie, it also serves as the fifth installment in a series which began with the 2012 "2016: Obama’s America," a film so incendiary, it resulted in him being persecuted by the Obama administration. He ended up serving time and being fined $30,000 over an infrequently enforced campaign finance law.
D’Souza eventually received a pardon in 2018 from President Donald Trump.
Picking up where the 2018 "Death of a Nation" (2018) left-off, "Trump Card" spends the bulk of its 106 minutes covering the history of global Socialism and trying to figure out why this form of pie-in-the-sky government is so appealing to so many uninformed young Americans.
For any natural-born (or naturalized by choice) American citizen over the age of 50 or so, the idea of embracing Socialism (or its first cousin Communism) is abhorrent.
These virtually indistinguishable approaches to government eventually fell out of favor in their countries of origin (the former Soviet Union in 1917 and China in 1949).
The U.S. was built on capitalism and the free-enterprise system and has survived the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, and several recessions and doing so while defending these principals.
Instead of waving a flag or beating the drum of American patriotism, D’Souza tracks the origins of Socialism/Marxism/Communism to their founding with stark, sober, clear-eyed assessment. Lenin — working from Marx’s "Das Kapital" text — appealed to the Russian masses’ collective disenchantment with a centuries’ old monarchy — and, with relatively little opposition — overthrew the largest and one of the oldest countries in the world.
With little to no proof this everyone-is-equal concept would ever hold water, the Chinese — led by Mao Zedong — adopted an exact, if not quite similar form of tyrannical oppression, and the seeds of socialism were sown. The Russians and the Chinese then began a "super spreader" form of capture and enforcement of neighboring countries and for roughly over 60 years over half of the world’s population lived under soul-crushing socialist/communist rule.
In the time since, Socialism/Communism has failed miserably and now only exists in the satellite countries of Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea. The mother countries of Russia and China are socialist in name only and each recognizes the only way out of third world status was by embracing capitalism in all of its forms.
D’Souza’s presentation (as always) is on a par with major studio production standards and his own all-business, emotionally-detached on-screen persona shows (unlike Moore) he’s not interested in being the focus of the story but rather the guide. His interviews are brief and to-the-point and he (along with co-director/writers Bruce Schooley and D’Souza’s wife Debbie) keep things moving at a steady, yet unhurried clip.
Among the notable interviewees are stand-up comedian Terence K. Williams and actor Isaiah Washington (the TV show "Grey’s Anatomy") who, in 2017, joined other disgruntled liberals in the burgeoning #WalkAway movement. Referring to himself as a "Frederick Douglass" Republican, Washington shows clear melancholy when stating his political beliefs have resulted in him having "no friends" in Hollywood.
The filmmakers save their best for last and devote the final act to the 2020 Democratic Presidential primary circus, the recent riots in Democrat-controlled cities and footage showing that Hunter Biden wasn’t his father’s only blood relative who monetarily benefited during Joe Biden’s tenure as vice president.
One of the more telling montages shows the Democratic presidential hopefuls on the debate stage using the word "free" when describing the cost of things such as healthcare, housing and education "for all." Perhaps none of them are aware that nothing is ever "free"or the more than astute observation famously made by "The Iron Lady," the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher: "The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."
In addition to his son Hunter purportedly receiving cash from foreign companies for which he had no knowledge or talent, Biden’s brothers James and Frank purportedly cashed in on his name real estate dealings in Costa Rica and Iraq.
Pundits on the both sides of the political aisle have been warning whoever will listen that the country is on the precipice of a second Civil War, but they’re only half right. We are already at war but it’s not one over race, geography, gender or class but rather ideology.
Credited with one of the most oft-repeated lines in history, noted Italian philosopher George Santayana (1863-1952) said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." The makers of "Trump Card" have delivered a movie for all of those with faulty memories or those born after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Socialism as it is currently being framed by the uninformed members of the Deep State has never worked and believing it ever can is a monumentally misguided fool’s errand.
Originally from Washington, D."C., Michael Clark has written for over 30 local and national media outlets, is currently the only newspaper-based film critic providing original content in the Atlanta Top 10 media marketplace and co-founded the Atlanta Film Critics Circle in 2017. Over the last 25 years, Mr. Clark has written over 4,000 movie reviews and film related articles and is one of the scant few conservative-minded U.S. film critics. Read Michael Clark's Reports — More Here.
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