With Donald Trump making headlines this week, the Dryden's screening of Anthony Baxter's documentary, "You've Been Trumped," couldn't be more timely. Chronicling the 2010 battle of wills between the billionaire tycoon and residents of the small Scottish coastal community of Aberdeenshire, which started after Trump announced plans to build a golf resort atop the area's once protected grasslands, the film aspires to be a "Roger & Me"-esque indictment of unchecked power and greed.
Though Trump's proposal had originally been rejected by the Aberdeen city council, the Scottish government intervened and, taken in by promises of job creation and the influx of the almighty tourist dollar, overruled the decision and gave the project the green light. Effectively betrayed by their own government, residents of the small farming community were left on their own to stand against a constant barrage of money, arrogance, and lies.
Unfolding without the typical documentary narration, we're allowed to simply observe the events unfold. We watch as the locals are bullied by Trump's security team and even members of the Aberdeen police department. Their water and power are shut off, all accidentally, of course. Baxter himself is harassed by the local authorities and at one point arrested and jailed for several hours after entering the construction site in an attempt to interview one of Trump's minions.
There's no attempt at objectivity here, as there's no question where the director's sympathies lie. He contrasts interviews with locals like kindly old Molly Forbes, who looks like your grandmother and goes about tending to her chickens while speaking in a delightful Scottish brogue about how her house has been in her family for generations, with clips of Trump during the many press conferences held to publicize his venture, cackling about how he wants to tear down the homes because they're ugly and spoil his view.
It's impossible not to react on an emotional level as we watch as people who honorably refuse to give up and abandon their homes, are forced to look on as Trump's bulldozers demolish their very livelihoods. It's a heartbreaking and well-told story, but ultimately any person with an ounce of common sense probably doesn't need much convincing to believe that Donald Trump is a heartless egomaniac and, well, kind of a dick.