Hot Docs Review: You’ve Been Trumped

By  · Published on May 7th, 2011

by Lauren Flanagan

This may come as a surprise, but Donald Trump is a bully. A mean spirited megalomaniac who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about anyone but himself and his bottom line. If there’s any doubt in your mind, or if you just want another reason to dislike him, this is the movie for you.

Anthony Baxter’s You’ve Been Trumped explores the controversy surrounding Trump’s plans to build a huge, opulent golf course on a scientifically unique spot of land in rural Scotland. The plan for the massive development was originally rejected due to the very legitimate environmental concerns, but in an unprecedented move the Scottish government intervened and gave it the go-ahead. Apparently the economic advantages were just too tempting to give up. The plans would clearly destroy the ecosystem around the UK’s last remaining sand dunes, but no matter – Trump wants to have a luxurious place for him and his uber-wealthy cronies to golf. Doesn’t matter that the land will be forever ruined.

Fast-forward a few years and the project is well on its way. Not only has the land been brutalized (a scene where a bunch of beautiful uprooted trees are dumped into a mass grave is awfully sad), but the project now has the potential to force some local residents out of their homes. Does Trump care? Certainly not. He takes every opportunity to belittle the residents calling their homes slums, saying they live like pigs, and that the beautiful Scottish cottages and farms are disgusting eyesores (says the man who lives in the gaudiest home in the history of the world). Picturesque and charming is probably a better description. But the locals remain steadfast and refuse to give up their homes. A battle ensues.

Trump’s arch nemesis in the battle is Michael Forbes, a hard working farmer whose land is next door to the complex. Trump’s issue is that he doesn’t want anyone playing a round on the course to have to have his or her view disturbed by looking at a working farm (a slum according to The Donald). Forbes refuses to sell and Trump takes every opportunity to mock and belittle him in the press. Forbes, while shocked by the verbal assault, refuses to back down but has his will tested when his water is “accidentally” shut off and repeated requests to get it fixed go ignored. He attempts to get help from the police, but over the course of the movie it becomes sadly apparent that they’ve been bought. Anthony Baxter actually gets arrested in an unexpectedly violent altercation with two police officers that seemingly happens for no reason at all. But like any good documentary filmmaker, he manages to keep the camera on the whole time. As he does when one of Trump’s employees puts out some subtle threats.

The saddest part of all this is that Donald Trump basically wins. He tells outward lies about protecting the environment while simultaneously destroying it. He damages the lives and homes of local people who have lived in the area (sometimes the very same homes) for generations. He does whatever he can to step on the little guy all to put some extra cash in his pocket.

This is obviously a very timely film and I don’t think there’s any need to get into a political discussion, but if this guy ever becomes President a lot of the people in the USA are fucked.

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