Where’s My Roy Cohn
Ken Auletta, Roy M. Cohn
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You couldn’t make it up.
Roy M. Cohn was, to put it bluntly, a very nasty and corrupt piece of work. He was also an A-grade hypocrite and a Machiavellian and enormously successful manipulator. As such, he makes a fascinating subject for a documentary.
Precociously brilliant, and a graduate from Harvard Law School at the age of twenty, Cohn soon became what he will always be best remembered for: Senator Joe McCarthy’s right-hand man in the anti-Communist witch-hunts of the early Fifties, with a pivotal role in some of the most tragic miscarriages of justice. But there were – alas for America, but a treasure trove for a filmmaker – so many more notable achievements in the ensuing decades. As an attorney in private practice, this “definition of a self-hating Jew” and closeted gay man who persecuted fellow homosexuals had much of the Press, the corporate world and many politicians in his pocket. Not to mention a close association with the top brass of the Mafia, many of whom he repeatedly and successfully defended. And then there was his part in the burgeoning early career of a certain property developer by the name of Donald J. Trump… There’s also a sub-plot here about Cohn’s bacchanalian private life and his medical history.
When you consider the sheer improbable scale of Roy Cohn’s nefarious activities – and his connections and ongoing legacy – the phrase “You couldn’t make it up” springs to mind. That’s rather ironic, admittedly, when we’re talking about a professional liar, but this excellent doco will leave you feeling that way just the same.