In The Brink, documentary filmmaker Alison Klayman trails Steve Bannon from his ouster as Trumps White House chief strategist following the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville through the 2018 midterm elections, where a number of far-right candidates backed by the ex-Breitbart honcho (and Trump) were defeated, and the Democratic Party flipped 41 seats to gain control of the House of Representatives.
It was a consequential election for Bannon, whod spent $3 million in digital ads gassing up Trump in the lead-up to the midterms, toured the country preaching the Trump gospel, and even fashioned a documentary film lionizing the former reality-television host. The historical loss by the Republicans all but confirmed his pariah status in U.S. politics.
One of the films most explosive moments occurs on the eve of the midterms, as Bannon, pacing about his home in Ugg slippers, is freaking out about the polling resultscursing off his team members and even banging his head against a wall. You can watch it right here, exclusively at The Daily Beast:
This scene is Bannon frayed and stressed the day before the midterms. He had been traveling nonstop doing events for his c4 Citizens of the American Republic. On the other end of the line are his guys, aka his strategists and pollsters, haphazardly running through numbers and theories about various states and districts, explains Klayman. Bannon had been saying for months that the House vote would be a referendum on the Trump presidency and the pressure was getting to him. He often talked about a war room that I never sawthis is more the daily operation I saw. I often saw him rage at his team, but this was the first time he banged his head on anything.
The Brinkwhich this writer turned down appearing inis a far cry from Errol Morris maligned Bannon doc American Dharma, wherein the legendary documentarian failed to challenge the nationalist crusader on a number of hot-button issues (that film still lacks a distributor). Klaymans doc, which will be released by Magnolia Pictures on March 29, exposes Bannon as a hate merchant peddling xenophobia to politicians and paupers at home and abroad.
The film is a distillation of my experience of Bannon over a period of 13 months where I filmed him as a one-person crew. I was interested in cutting through all the things Bannon will say (and hes happy to say almost anything) and instead look at where hes investing his energy, how he operates, and who is paying his way, says Klayman.
What I hope the doc shows is there isnt much there except a desire to keep people out. He is good at identifying real problemsstagnant wages, jobs going overseas, the feeling that somewhere we got off trackbut the only thing he offers for all this are crueler and more violent immigration policies. Thats all thats there, a non sequitur meant to distract attention from the real sources of our issues. Everything else is a show hes gotten good at putting on.