You've Been Trumped: DVD Review
Released by Rialto and Vendetta Films
In this doco, it's David vs Goliath in Scotland.
Well, to be more accurate - it's Michael Forbes and some of the residents of Aberdeenshire vs the Mega Weave and he of the "You're fired" catchphrase and pursed lips, Donald Trump.
Originally a BBC documentary, this piece follows the plans of the Don to build a massive golf course and hotel complex on the sites of scientific interest in Aberdeenshire, and on a piece of coastline which has been untouched by man for years.
Essentially, it's a tale of one man's mega-corporation's push and PR to discredit and destroy the local objectors, of whom there are only a handful - but what emerges is that ever trusty piece of film that benefits from only one side being involved. Unfortunately, Baxter was unable to get any co-operation from anyone in Trump's teams, or the local police and council to comment or be interviewed for the documentary. So, what emerges is a piece, albeit well told, that is horrendously one sided.
Baxter interviews the locals threatened by Trump's plans and who, in fairness, emerge as espousing more than just the usual NIMBY arguments by looking at the greater good.
But he manages to slightly wrongfoot and over-sentimentalise his argument and case by giving the locals a sympathetic backstory, letting them present footage of their past and links to the land while cutting to shots of the Don and his fleet of black SUVs.
It's not that You've Been Trumped isn't competently and flashily put together; it's a well oiled, slick and sleek piece of film-making. It's just one that means you're never anything but opposed to the plans from Donald Trump and his evil empire. (Cue moustache twirling). I empathise with Baxter as a film-maker here - there are no options for them to get the other viewpoint from the property tycoon as he tries to bulldoze what's described as the crown jewels of Scotland's coast; and to be fair, they've tried every which way to get that; from turning up on a site, to putting in calls and emails to the Trump's office; all of which are rebutted, refused and end up in Baxter being arrested by the police. To be frank though, Trump doesn't help himself with arrogance, pomp and pursed lips like a badger sucking a lemon, the Don manages to shoot himself in his foot and then shove the other one squarely into his own mouth. Baxter manages to get some top golfers to get their opinions on any course - and so, the case against the Don piles up higher than a sandbank being created by the construction site.
What emerges from You've Been Trumped is a piece which shows the bullying tactics, petty nature and general bluster of anyone involved in the Trump organisation. But what also shows up is a piece which is, unfortunately, never anything but in favour of the residents.
Consequently, Baxter is to be praised for trying to balance a doco as much as he can and pulling together a watchable film which tries to tell the facts but is thwarted by the shut downs of his opposing subject and the refusal of anyone to actually talk about it.