Weiner is now available on DVD from Madman Films
Anthony Weiner’s Twitter scandal may have played out across comedy news snippets and tweets ad-nauseum in 2011…and 2013…and 2015 (you get the picture), a seemingly unflappable comeback king, but witnessing the amount of access in the fast-paced and entertaining documentary on Weiner’s campaign for mayor in 2013 still feels astonishingly large. It’s so astounding, so outrageous that one is not entirely convinced it’s not satire, in fact, that co-director Josh Kriegman even comments on it near the end – “why have you let me film this?”. It’s a filmmaker’s wonderland, sure, but what’s on screen here is like Weiner himself – bafflingly, unprofessionally transparent and completely lacking in self-awareness or consciousness of those connected to him. Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s documentary doesn’t even really know either, offering a disbelievingly all-access pass into the public implosion of a major politician. The social media news cycle, which is largely what keeps Weiner’s story in the news due to its high replay value, always runs in the background here. Footage of appearances at countless parades (his media presence is nothing but endless) is interspersed with the commentary chattering in the background, talking heads replaced with a runaway modern media train. It’s one that Weiner has dragged his loyal but undoubtedly frustrated advisers and (soon-to-be ex) wife Huma Abedin, who’s one of Hillary Clinton’s top advisors, into. One wonders what might happen if the camera was turned off, Kriegman and Steinberg’s camera keeping the frustration and anger of Weiner’s consultants barely covered. Despite them being moments we shouldn’t be allowed to see, the film is most interesting when looking at the dynamics Weiner has with those he associates with, particularly privy to moments between him and Abedin. Watch the body language. The frustration. The disappointment. The embarrassment. It’s here that the true toll of Weiner’s media presence is felt.