Sheffield Doc/Fest Review: The Brink

Steve Bannon is undoubtedly one of the most well-known and controversial figures in American politics. The former investment banker and head of the right-wing Breitbart News entered the public spotlight when he became chief executive of Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential election campaign. He was rewarded for his efforts with a chief strategist role within the White House administration. After a much-publicised fall-out, Bannon hatched his own plans.

The Brink, Alison Klayman’s new documentary, catches up with Bannon as he embarks on his quest to spread populism around the world. The former Goldman Sachs employee and film producer’s key political belief is in a form of economic nationalism which places the country above all else. She follows him as he travels across Europe trying to piece together a global alliance of nationalist parties.  

Bannon is without doubt one of the most influential political figures in global politics. The Brink gives him space to breathe and in doing so affords the audience a glimpse into what makes him tick. For a man who almost singlehandedly introduced the alt-right in America, he’s perhaps surprisingly charismatic, reasonable and intelligent. However, on the rare occasions when the mask slips there’s clearly something far more disturbing and dangerous hiding beneath. Whether by necessity or design, he’s only half-heartedly challenged in The Brink. A sturdier rebuttal or laissez-faire approach may have been more beneficial.

The Brink is released in cinemas and on demand on 12 July.

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