A.O. Scott at the NYT has a quite different view of this movie than I did. I interpreted it as more a defense (of sorts) of Jack Abramoff, who is depicted as a hard-working, entrepreneurial family man who generally has more limits on his behavior than those around him, but who gets corrupted by the insanity of life inside the beltway. I took the hectic pace of the movie, which does not go into depth about any particular bit of misbehavior, as designed to capture the feel of Abramoff's life at the time.
Scott and I do agree on the fact that Jon Lovitz steals part of the show as the shady (is there some other kind?) mattress salesman.
More broadly, what is not so clear to me is why the petty influence peddling that Abramoff engaged in is any worse, from a practical or moral standpoint, than perfectly legal actions such as the Obama administration shutting down the DC voucher program to (indirectly) buy votes, volunteers and cash from the teacher labor cartels (or equivalently transparent political transactions undertaken by the republicans when they hold power).
2 weeks ago