To paraphrase Jean-Luc Godard: if you want your movie to hook an audience, all your story needs is a girl and a smoking gun. In Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s queasily absorbing political documentary Weiner, the two smash against one another on the dick pic-riddled smartphone of disgraced former congressman, Anthony Weiner of New York.
Capturing Weiner’s catastrophic 2013 New York City mayoral campaign from within the scrum and beyond the sack, the film scrutinizes the self-obsession of its candidate against his noble political ideals, and the media’s lethal manipulation of the former and abject disinterest in the latter. It is also a thrilling and meticulous account of a campaign staff in free-fall, with the candidate mistaking the whir of escaping air for flight. If D.A. Pennebaker’s The War Room shows us how the machinations of campaign politics successfully operate around pitfalls and personal indiscretions along the trail, Weiner demonstrates how the media can lethally wedge a dildo right between the gears.