Roy Cohn might be one of the most disgusting people that ever lived. It’s just a shame that Matt Tyrnauer’s documentary on him just has a bunch of talking heads telling us stories that aren’t all that interesting. It’s also a collection of people you don’t care about (mostly journalists and relatives).
As a young lawyer, Cohn started out as an aide to Senator Joseph McCarthy. I felt the film spent too much time there, but as they stated…that’s the headline to his obituary.
Cohn became involved in the execution of the Rosenbergs. He eventually represented many mob members, often getting them light sentences. Oh, and he became President Trump’s personal lawyer when Donald was in his early 20s. That stemmed from Cohn working with his dad. We see a clip of Cohn saying the two pictures he’s proudest of are the one of the Reagan’s, with a letter thanking him for getting Ronnie elected President. The Trump photo has a letter thanking him for his work.
We also hear about some shady deals Trump made, but those are things we’ve heard about before.
What I enjoyed most was seeing Mike Wallace (who we got to enjoy seeing in a documentary a few months ago), grilling him about his sexuality. Cohn always denied his homosexuality (he was briefly engaged to Barbara Walters). Even as he was dying of AIDS, or photos came out of him hanging out with young men, he stayed in the closet. One of his boyfriends does have a few interesting things to say in the documentary, though.
Every time they would touch on something interesting — a boat fire that he may have caused for insurance money (that resulted in someone dying)…or a photo of a mafioso in a bloody mess outside a cafe that Cohn may have had a hand in…nothing else is related. In fact, many times you wish they would’ve delved deeper into a certain element of his life.
You will hear about the strangest Seder dinner in history (spoiler alert: the Cohn family had it while the body of their dead maid was on the kitchen floor, which they knew).
It’s just a shame the trailer for this looked so interesting, and the movie was only mildly so.
It’s at the Angelika Film Center this weekend, if you don’t want to fight the sold out crowds seeing Joker.
2 stars out of 5.