YouTube for "entertainment." But as the man's daughter notes toward the end of yet another in this year's remarkable run of first-class documentaries, perhaps seeing this "suicide" video will get at least a few of its viewers to look further into the life of a rather amazing guy. This late, lamented fellow is the "star" of (and reason for) HONEST MAN: The Life of R. Budd Dwyer, the infinitely sad, thought-provoking and oddly inspiring story of R. Budd Dwyer, who looks more and more like the last of that perhaps now nearly-extinct-species, the honest politician.
James Dirschberger (shown at left, he directed, produced and co-wrote the film with Adam Wroblewski), begins his movie with just a piece of that suicide, which of course hooks us and yet does not seem unnecessarily crass. This, after all, would appear to be what the man was noted for. One of the great accomplishments of the film is that, once you've finished it, you will find Mr. Dwyer notable for so much else that the suicide seems minor in comparison to the strength and honor of this man who, finally, felt he had to take that particular avenue. In fact, you may view the suicide as an almost rightful place in a history increasingly full of wrong-doing by others.
TrustMovies' current political leanings, you might expect me to be turned off by this fact. But, as I am now in my 70s, I can and do remember a time when there were actually some decent Republicans around the country -- people who did not march in lockstep with a bunch of would-be fascists and/or brainless tea-partiers with no understanding of history. When you see and hear the history and archival photos that director Dirschberger has come up with (thanks, no doubt to the Dwyer family), you'll understand something about what "an honest man" might have looked like a few decades back.
Dick Thornburgh (shown at left, three photos below) and other cronies were more than happy to get rid of a state treasurer who was the high-level honest man in a den of thieves.
Crime After Crime. But perhaps being set in Pennsylvania makes it appear as only "local news." It's not. What this movie deals with is as important to our country, particularly now, as is the subject matter of any other documentary. Political corruption is endemic to, if not epidemic in, America. And Honest Man offers an interesting slice of this pie that we don't see often enough.
Inside Job and Waiting for Superman), the film has earned back in admissions nearly its entire budget. It will open next in Los Angeles at the Cinema Speakeasy at the Royal/T in Culver City, this coming Friday, July 29, when members of the Dwyer family, James Dirschberger, and Trevor Moore (founder of comedy troupe The Whitest Kids U’ Know) will be on hand for a post-screening Q&A, moderated by Truthdig.com‘s Kasia Anderson. In conjunction with this L.A. premiere, Honest Man will soon be released across multiple digital platforms including Amazon VOD, Hulu -- and eventually, we hope Netflix, although as yet, you cannot even "save it" there. Come on Netflix, do your customers a service and stock this film!