By Sean Tuohy
One of the most common questions asked in our current political situation is: “How did we get here?” The provocative Netflix documentary “Get Me Roger Stone” provides some answers.
Trump wouldn’t have secured the Oval Office without the help of Roger Stone, a brilliant, yet sleazy, political operative (whose love for Tricky Dick Nixon is so powerful that Stone got a tattoo of the disgraced President on his back).
For the better part of 40 years, Stone has been the unapologetic mastermind behind the far-right conservative movement in the United States. He's a firm believer in political dirty tricks, and his mindset is simple: win at any cost. He’s employed all manner of low blows to get people like Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Donald Trump into office.
In “Get Me Roger Stone,” the “agent provocateur” is presented to the public like America’s evil step-uncle. He’s the man lurking in the shadows, preying on America’s worst fears and weaknesses. The documentary does a great job at allowing the subject to speak for himself. At no point do the filmmakers (Dylan Bank, Daniel DiMauro, and Morgan Pehme) try to paint a different, more flattering portrait of Stone. They allow him to stand on his soapbox and shout his views of how the world should look. Much like the shady politicians he’s championed, Stone is endlessly fascinating. Yes, when he smiles you feel a chill run down your spine and he dresses like a caricature of the devil, but he has a natural charm that keeps you watching.
You won’t like Roger Stone by the end of the film. The idea of seeing the man fail makes you giddy with joy. But you also learn that he gets off on your hate. Where most people want to be liked by the public, Stone is a man who wants to be known; being hated doesn’t matter as long as you remember he exists.
“Get Me Roger Stone” is a great piece of filmmaking. The Trump administration didn’t happen overnight. It was years in the making, and Stone was one of the few people to see it coming. The film may not help with your rage or depression, but it will help you better understand the America we’re currently living in.