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Roy Cohn

“WHERE’S MY ROY COHN?”  My rating: B

97 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

Disbarred attorney and right wing political fixer Roy Cohn was such a creepy  character (those sociopathic hooded eyes) that liberals may be forgiven for wanting to forget all about him.

They do so at their own risk.

Matt Tyrnaer’s “Where’s My Roy Cohn?” is, in most regards, a conventional bio doc.

It follows Cohn’s life and career from boyhood (his parents assuaged their own unhappiness by treating him as a little prince) and his first real brush with corruption (at age 15 he used a bribe to get a teacher out of a traffic ticket) to his death from AIDS at age 59 in 1987.

The film covers all the high (or low) points you’d expect:

  • Prosecuting the Rosenbergs and personally lobbying the judge to ensure a death sentence.
  • Serving as counsel to Sen. Joseph McCarthy in his infamous Red Scare campaigns.
  • Playing a major role in Army-McCarthy hearings (Coen tried to blackmail the U.S. Army to gain preferential treatment for PFC David Shine, a friend and colleague with whom he was infatuated).
  • His Machiavellian law practice, frequently on behalf of the corrupt and  powerful, including organized crime bosses like John Gotti. (Cohn’s motto:  “I don’t care what the law is. I want to know who the judge is.”)

But it is in the film’s final third that things get monstrously topical.  For here Tyrnaer’s examines Cohn’s mentoring of young Donald Trump, for whom Cohn cut numerous illegal deals that would pave the way to the erecting of Trump Tower.  Donald Trump who may not have been much of a scholar but apparently he remembered everything he heard and saw in Cohn’s presence and has been exploiting it ever since.

(more…)

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