Hollywood vs. Trump: Cinema takes on US politics
Hollywood doesn't like Donald Trump, and the feeling is mutual. Movies have often put the relationship between Washington and the media under the microscope. Three recent films reflect that difficult relationship.
Politics and the media: The Front Runner
Jason Reitman's latest film, The Front Runner, opened in US cinemas late last year. Hugh Jackman plays the role of the former Democratic presidential hopeful Gary Hart (pictured) in spring 1987, the first major US politician to be grilled on his sex life. The film deals with the relationship between politics and the media.
In The Front Runner, Jackman takes on the role of the former senator from Colorado, seen as a Democratic favorite in the 1988 presidential race. That is, until reports of an extramarital affair and a photo of Hart with a woman who wasn't his wife — on the unfortunately named yacht "Monkey Business" — brought him down. Compared to the many Trump scandals, Hart's story seems almost harmless today.
Hart & Clinton & Edwards & Trump
The film deals with Hart's alleged extramarital affair and the ensuing media frenzy, which ultimately caused him to leave the presidential race. In the 1990s, the Monica Lewinsky scandal and subsequent media attention got then-President Bill Clinton into hot water. Aggressive political reporting also brought down presidential contender John Edwards in 2004. But Trump, so far, appears immune.
In the crosshairs: Donald Trump
The latest film from American provocateur Michael Moore looks back at the 2016 presidential election campaign, which surprised many when Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to end up in the White House. In Fahrenheit 11/9, Moore looks at the power of the media in the US and lets Trump's opponents — and fans — have their say.
On the trail of scandal
Moore uses his documentary to expose the dangers of American society and politics. But he doesn't just look at Washington; he also travels the country to examine the machinations of corrupt politicians in other US states. In this scene, he confronts former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder with evidence of the Flint contaminated water scandal.
What drives the American voter?
Moore, who first met Trump on Roseanne Barr's talk show in 1998, includes a galaxy of stars in his film, mostly opponents of the president. He also criticizes what he considers to be the failed campaign policies of the Democrats, and looks at the grassroots political movements taking shape in the US. Here, survivors of the Parkland school massacre protest support for NRA-affiliated politicians.
Power of the vice president: Vice
Vice, which recently won a Golden Globe for Christian Bale's performance as former US Vice President Dick Cheney, also tackles the current political situation in the US. Directed by Adam McKay, it's a portrait of George W. Bush's second in command — and it can also be read as a comment on Trump.
Man in the background
In his latest feature film, McKay — who previously directed The Big Short documenting the run-up to the 2008 financial collapse — directs Bale as the shrewd and unscrupulous former vice president. According to McKay, it wasn't George W. Bush who wielded power in the White House — but his "subordinate."
Second couple in charge
In Vice, Cheney and his wife, Lynne, played by Amy Adams, are the actual masters of the Washington political scene, determining where the ship sails. In foreign and military policy, as well as in economic and fiscal matters, they are the ones steering America. McKay's film can also be interpreted as a commentary on the current Trump administration, with Vice President Mike Pence.