I'm not a fan of George W. Bush, but I'm not a fan of one-sided, unsubstantiated propaganda posing as documentary either.Based on the non-fiction book by James C. Moore and Wayne Slater, Bush's Brain puts forward the assertion that strategist Karl Rove not only helped Bush get into office but is the puppet master pulling the strings every time the President speaks or acts. Directors Michael Paradies Shoob and Joseph Mealy then proceed to offer up no proof whatsoever to support that claim.
Instead, Bush's Brain dishes dirt on past elections involving Rove, providing "evidence" (i.e. the testimony of disgruntled losers of said campaigns) of his questionable campaign tactics and complete lack of morality, ethics or remorse dating back to his days as a college member of the Young Republicans.
What there isn't is any insight into the motivations behind Rove's unquenchable thirst for not only victory but the obliteration of political adversaries or the relationship between the powerful strategist and the actions of the Bush White House.
Regardless of whether Rove is really the irredeemable slimeball this documentary purports him to be, and there's certainly enough evidence in the movie to assume he probably is, it doesn't change the fact that Bush's Brain fails to adequately connect Rove's lack of moral fiber to the current administration's policies.
Which simply makes it an extended negative political ad, and one that turns ugly when the filmmakers interview the family of a young soldier killed in Iraq. Without ever attempting to tie in Rove's political philosophy with our current presence in Iraq, the makers of Bush's Brain basically state "Karl Rove is responsible for the death of American soldiers."For a film supposedly about a master of dirty tactics it's a classless cheap shot that typifies a "documentary" that is really nothing more than an 80-minute smear campaign.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Tribeca Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
This film is listed in our political documentary series. For more in the Political Documentary series, click here.