Anthony Baxter takes on tycoon Donald Trump and his luxury golf developments once again in his hard-hitting documentary A Dangerous Game, the follow-up to 2011′s You’ve Been Trumped.
In 2011, director Anthony Baxter released his debut film ‘You’ve Been Trumped’, a documentary following the trials and tribulations of a select few Scottish homeowners in their David & Goliath battle against Donald Trump and his desire to build an enormous golf complex on their doorstep in rural Aberdeenshire. His follow-up, ‘A Dangerous Game’ is a call-back to that film, showing what has happened in the years since the movie as well as moving some of the action to Croatia, where a similar tug of war is happening with residents in Dubrovnik.
I enjoyed You’ve Been Trumped, which is fortunate as the new film expects the viewer to have not only watched that film but have agreed with its anti-capitalist and incredibly one-sided message. A Dangerous Game picks up with many of the ‘characters’ from the first film, particularly Michael Forbes whose farm was described by Trump as ‘filth’ in the first film. The most striking scene however, comes from Forbes 93 year old mother, who has had her water supply cut by Trump’s diggers and is forced to drink water from the local burn (incidentally, much of the Scots have their speech subtitled, which I found frustrating, particularly as the word ‘burn’ was anglicised to ‘stream’ in the text!).
The film’s middle jumps from Dubrovnik, where locals have forced a referendum on the building of the mountain-top course, to Las Vegas where multi-million dollar courses in arid environments have gone to rack and ruin. I could have done without the Vegas segment, and would have preferred to have spent more time investigating the corruption in Croatia that has led to an expensive course being built in an ancient community indifferent to golf.
The film culminates with an interview with Donald Trump himself, something that was missing from You’ve Been Trumped but which Trump now actively encourages due to the negative press the first film brought him. This section is largely disappointing, with the interview lacking the fireworks that 2 and a half hours worth of two separate movies have built the viewer to expect. Trump appears game for a debate with Baxter but Baxter himself falls flat and doesn’t ask the penetrating questions we want him to.
The film is well-intentioned but suffers from self-flagellation (we don’t need a 2 minute piece showing us how successful the first film was) and a feeling that nothing has truly been achieved – Trump’s course was built and is a success. The best parts don’t come from the referendum in Dubrovnik or the aforementioned interview, but from short pieces with Baxter’s 90 year old uncle who has collected and donated over 100,000 ‘lost’ balls from his local course to charity. While adding nothing to the story arc, these scenes do add warmth to the film and a sense that Scotland may now have billionaire-owned courses exclusively for the ultra-wealthy, but it hasn’t lost the community spirit and love of the game that makes it the home of golf.
Review by Richard Mason
Directed By: Anthony Baxter