If Donald Trump's ludicrous flaxen pompadour and that nauseating reality television show were not enough to put you off him, this documentary should do the trick. In a vigorous and unabashedly partisan manner, it charts the oafish and bullying New York tycoon's attempt to establish a resort development with two golf courses in a sensitive heritage coastal zone near Aberdeen in Scotland.
Lawyers for Trump tried unsuccessfully in October to stop the BBC from screening the film, calling it "highly biased and manipulative", and they have laid complaints with the relevant authorities.
That's hardly surprising: Baxter, a British journalist, makes Trump, who both literally and metaphorically bulldozes everything in his way, look pretty bad, though it has to be said that Trump gives him plenty of help. When, at a function, he comes across a local woman he plainly considers easy on the eye, Baxter's microphone catches him suggesting to his minders that "she may want to work for sales and stuff".
Baxter wisely builds his story around a handful of impressively immovable local residents, who constitute the very thin front line of opposition. But he lays out his case with cool precision: the Scottish Government ignores its own environmental rules to give the project the green light and the local constabulary do not exactly cover themselves with glory.
The film's channelling of Bill Forsyth's 1983 film Local Hero, set on the same coast, and over-energetic editing are both distracting and unnecessary and the repeated sequences that depict Baxter's travails in making the film risk a loss of focus. A passing mention of what the project's impact might have been on the endemic unemployment would have been useful, too. But in a country like ours, where governments are keen to bend the rules for rich foreigners, this makes compelling viewing.
Director: Anthony Baxter
Running time: 95 mins
Rating: PG (low-level offensive language)
Verdict: Portrait of an oaf
- TimeOutBy Peter Calder Email Peter