The Big Buy: Tom DeLay's Stolen Congress

"OK"

The Big Buy: Tom DeLay's Stolen Congress Review


No matter how hard it shakes its fist or rails at the firmament, there's a feeling of dull inevitability to the litany of deceit and crookery laid out in Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck's documentary The Big Buy: Tom Delay's Stolen Congress, even though they seem to feel that they've produced a noble and inspiring story of the fight versus Republican corruption. They can think that because in their corner they've got Texas's Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earl, the ascetic prosecutor who finally brought down "The Hammer" for his many alleged instances of laundering illegal corporate contributions through the Republican Party. The Texas Ranger-like Earl, deeply religious and given to pronouncements of high moral dudgeon, is a refreshing counterpoint to the slick and perpetually grinning DeLay, who of course only appears walking sinisterly in slo-mo on news clips. The problem is, when all is said and done, even if DeLay goes to prison for a very long time -- one of the charges he's currently arraigned on carries a possible life sentence -- the damage he wrought during his time in office can't be easily undone. Thus, there's a letdown at the end of this well-meaning but somewhat scruffy film.

The filmmakers have a doozy of a subject on their hands, but there's only so much one can make of such a man when he refuses to be interviewed. Starting off in Sugar Land, Texas, the heart of DeLay's congressional district, the film follows a couple of local Republican women (one even an activist in the party) who talk about DeLay like he was some promising but wayward teenager who brought shame on them all, lumping him in with that "gang of thugs" he brought to Washington with him. Since this is a Texas political documentary -- and one that keeps things pretty local, which will hurt its chances for viewership outside the Lone Star State -- the ever-earthy authors Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower also show up to lob a few spears at DeLay, who provides his critics with a big fat target.

Although many political documentaries with a solitary target (hatchet jobs like Giuliani Time or the anti-Rove Bush's Brain) muddle through with a mélange of accusations, some muddier than others, and hope to smear their target through the sheer weight of it all, The Big Buy keeps things simple by bringing DeLay's sins down to one major allegation. What DeLay was widely acknowledged at being best at -- besides viciously hammering out consensus from fellow Congressmen and strong-arming K Street firms (with Jack Abramoff) into only hiring Republican lobbyists -- was raising bank vaults full of money from corporations for the party. Problem was that it's illegal in Texas for corporations to give money to candidates. That's ultimately what this whole film boils down to, a guide to how Earl (demonized as a Democrat grandstander by DeLay's allies) finally got his indictments against the once-invincible DeLay.

Somehow, it's not as thrilling as it should be. Whether through repetition or the somewhat shoddy approach, The Big Buy never quite comes together as the rabblerousing call to arms that it wants to be and is instead a weirdly dull piece of agitprop. As an introduction to the trail of dirty money, ideological fundamentalism and corporate/political chicanery that characterized DeLay's political career, the film is certainly competent enough, but no more so than a few newspaper articles on the same subject.



The Big Buy: Tom DeLay's Stolen Congress

Facts and Figures

Run time: 75 mins

In Theaters: Friday 19th May 2006

Distributed by: Brave New Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 56%
Fresh: 5 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: , Jim Schermbeck

Producer: , , Jim Schermbeck

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.