Hot Docs 2017: PACmen

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If you are still trying to understand how Donald Trump ascended to the highest office in America, then it would be wise to take a closer look at the Republican presidential nominees who were also in the race. In his eye-opening and thoroughly engaging film PACmen, director Luke Walker presents a fly on the wall look at the Super PAC, comprised of two fundraising political action committees, which backed Dr. Ben Carson’s campaign.

Documenting everything from Carson’s rise in popularity, after a speech in which he criticized then President Obama to his face was praised by conservative media, all the way to his embarrassing Super Tuesday defeat, Walker paints a vibrant picture of an election that was never about the people. Though the Super PAC built their public friendly strategy around Carson’s religious faith and his rags to riches upbringing, it is clear that rejecting the Robin Hood style of socialism, that they feared would occur if the Democrats won in 2016, was their primary objective.

Carson’s status as an outsider may have given him the same advantages as Trump, but the questionable story about his past, one which forced even Trump to question “how stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?”, and frequent speaking blunders quickly eroded any good will he earned. It is in these moments, where the Super Pac must scramble to save a floundering candidate, that PACmen is most mesmerizing. The real victims of all of this of course were the dedicated volunteers who allowed their faith to blind them to the shifting in ideology that was occurring in American.

Regardless of one’s political views, PACmen is essential viewing. It provides insight into a campaign truly out of touch with the people it claimed to be serving.

Screens:
Tuesday, May 2, 7:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
Wednesday, May 3, 3:30 PM, Hart House
Friday, May 5, 11:00 AM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
Saturday, May 6, 12:30 PM, Fox Theatre

Tickets can be purchased at the Hot Docs website.