Review: Giuliani Time

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Rudy Giuliani was catapulted to a secular sainthood for his handling of the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, leading many to forget how, for eight years, he had ruled New York City with an iron-fist, bitterly dividing it along ethnic lines by implementing policies which favored whites and the rich over minorities and the poor.

Relying on code words like “Zero Tolerance� and “Quality of Life,� the mayor had given the NYPD the go ahead to intimidate and mistreat not only squeegee guys and the homeless, but anyone who wasn’t white with such impunity and contempt.

The result was a Wild West atmosphere in which minority communities were turned into police states where trigger-happy detectives could shoot an innocent, unarmed Black man, Amadou Diallo, 41 times, knowing that Rudy had their backs and they’d get off scot-free.

This informative biopic suggests that the source of Giuliani’s penchant for brutality and strong-arm tactics was his having been raised by his father, Harold, a gun-toting Mafiosi enforcer who broke kneecaps with a baseball bat for a major gambling operation in Brooklyn. His dad even served time in Sing Sing, though Rudy is apparently not one to acknowledge his mob roots.

Giuliani Time includes damning interviews with people like Schools Chancellor Rudy Crew (1995-1999) who criticizes his former boss for implementing education policies which he says were “racist and class-biased.�

Giuliani’s predecessors David Dinkins and Ed Koch weigh-in, too, the latter referring to Rudy as “a combination of Pinochet and Caligula� because “he accepts no dissent and uses his power to punish.� Ralph Nader, the ACLU’s Norman Siegel, Reverend Al Sharpton, Attorney Ron Kuby and a host of other luminaries pile on, taking turns to remind us of an administration which deserves to be remembered not for the clean-up of the Twin Towers, but for its utter lack of compassion for the impoverished and working classes.

Excellent (4 stars). Unrated. Running time: 120 minutes
Studio: Cinema Libre Studio


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