If you, however, are the type that wants a little education of the curtain-lifting kind, Casino Jack may be right up your alley. Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) has made it clear with previous films that he's got a thing or two to say about the way our nation handles its business. He's certainly skilled at it, and far more prolific (if not quite as humorous) as of late than counterpart Michael Moore. In Jack Abramoff, Gibney's found the perfect narrative thread to weave together all the corruption amongst DC lobbyists, politicians and political aides. Just as a little background, Abramoff, who gives a very bad name to my Jewish brethren, rubbed shoulders and did business with most of Washington's Republican elite, all the way up President Bush, while manipulating and stealing from some well-funded and uninformed special interest groups.
The journey of corruption moves fast and furious, as Gibney (who should have had somebody else narrate) is in comfortable waters, and forgets at times that we the audience may not be so hip to the lingo and backgrounds of these heavy hitters. That's not to say its hard to follow, but since he covers so much ground, the film moves at a rapid place and never goes TOO in-depth into any one subject. Gibney divides the film into about ten parts, each introduced with it's own Hollywood-esque title, which is appropriate given Gibney's attention to style. It may not be as colorful and animated as Moore's famous films, but there's enough clever editing, graphics and ironic music to keep things visually and aurally interesting here. The fact that Gibney's cameras are able to take us all around the planet doesn't hurt things either.
Gibney isn't afraid to make it clear that he's not an objective filmmaker. He has an agenda to push, but hey that's OK, these conservative Washington-types are such money-hungry hyenas that there's not really much to debate anyways.
Extended Interviews - If you thought one of these shady political dudes was oh-so-dreamy, here’s your opportunity to catch even more of their interviews. Five different Capitol Hill hunks to choose from.
“I'm Just A Bill” (2:05) - An animated PSA that tells you (in a fun musical way) how much $ lobbyists and govt blow on stupid things and how you can do your part to fix it.
New York Premiere Q & A with Alex Gibney, Bob Ney, Neil Volz and Adam Kidan (9:50) - Gibney shares some interesting insights about his conversations with Jack Abramoff, and the others reflect on what they’ve learned from the whole experience. Worth a watch.
A Conversation with Alex Gibney (8:15) - A videotaped radio interview with the writer/director, another pretty interesting listen.
Webisodes (26:53) - 6 different webisodes that sorta function as previews for the movie. Not bad, but just watch the movie.
Lobbying 101 - Some quick but helpful definitions on some of the terms thrown around in the film. Maybe woulda helped to read these BEFORE viewing.
In case you didn't get enough Gibney in this film and in the special features, he also provides a Commentary Track.