He may be a polarizing individual, but you have to admit that Donald Trump wrote a hell of a book that’s now one hell of a movie.
Just kidding! Like many prominent figures in society, Trump used a ghost writer named Tony Schwartz to write his bestselling book, The Art of the Deal. Schwartz’s perspective on Trump is fascinating, by the way. Read it here.
Knowing Trump, he would have absolutely adapted the book he claims to have written himself (surprise, surprise) into a self-aggrandizing movie, probably directed by himself or whoever would accept his money. Instead, Adam McKay, director of Anchorman and The Big Short, partnered with Funny or Die to bring us one of the most biting satires ever.
Since the point of these reviews is to keep my creative well filled and looked at creative projects from a storytelling perspective, we’ll start with the story.
In 1986, a child is hiding from a security guard at Trump Tower because he stole a copy of The Art of the Deal. Where does he end up hiding? Trump’s office, where he comes face to face with the Donald himself, played by none other than Johnny Depp. With this small child cornered in his office, Trump proceeds to tell the story of how he acquired the property to build the Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City via chapters from his book titled ‘The Art of Suing the Losers at the NFL’ and ‘The Art of Marrying a Gorgeous Immigrant’, to name a few.
Most of these chapters are told in flashbacks, while in the present Trump negotiates with Patton Oswalt’s character. I don’t remember who most of the characters actually are, which also goes to show how important the story actually is in this movie.
The entire point of this short movie is, of course, to make fun of Donald Trump. It’s satire at its finest. Trump mocks veterans, belittles women, and calls his architect a Nazi, all to put himself forward. Sounds familiar?
The best joke, however, comes halfway through the film. Trump offers the kid a Trump Steak. When the kid gives away his ethnicity by asking for salsa, Trump says, “It’s not workin’ out with this kid. Let’s go to commercial.” After a two second commercial, there’s an asian kid sitting across from Trump. Twice more, the kid is changed out until it’s a white kid sitting in his place, much to Trump’s satisfaction.
McKay and Depp nail Trump’s mannerisms and narcissism perfectly, yet it’s completely watchable for the whole movie (which is less than 50 minutes). It’s not a deliberate, over-the-top caricature like most comedian’s impressions of Trump. It’s more subtle, which is what makes it so believable and convincing.
To be honest, this portrayal of Trump pales in comparison to the real deal who’ll be in the news every single day from now until November (if we’re lucky). I wonder if Trump’s seen the movie? I think he’d find it a fair likeness, at least until the movie spends a full minute on the ‘Trump-sized dump’ he took. Then again, maybe not?
If you’ve seen Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie, let me know what your thoughts are.
I’m always looking for new stories, no matter the medium. If you know of any great books, movies, or video games that you absolutely love, let me know in the comments and, if I haven’t checked it out, I’ll add it to the list!