Starting with Rudy Giuliani's early, compromised successes as the Department of Justice's associate attorney general, then focusing on his two terms as the mayor of New York City, Kevin Keating's hard-nosed doc "Giuliani Time" sheds more than its fair share of damning light on Rudy's political reign, claiming he took inappropriate credit for New York's reduced crime rate, fostered unfair work practices in order to reduce the city's welfare rolls and, through his aggressive policing programs in predominantly minority neighborhoods and by allowing personal beliefs to guide policy, made numerous attempts to circumvent the first amendment. Keating goes on to posit that, as the public woke up to his faults, including his alleged affair with an employee and his shameless assault on a controversial art exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, Giuliani's career was pretty much dead in the water until the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. His response to the disaster catapulted him to heroic status in the eyes not only of New Yorkers, but the entire country. (Keating credits Rudy's PR team for that one, and rightly so. As Chris Rock
once said: "Rudy did his job -- that's all he did.") With that, and his unsavory allegiance to the Republicans personified by his address at the party's 2004 convention in NYC, he now stands poised for a possible 2008 presidential run.
Keating, who has shot for the Maysles brothers and Barbara Kopple, amasses an impressive amount of evidence to bolster his claims, allowing the relative dryness of his style to be overshadowed by the revelatory nature of his research. Even so, he could have provided just a bit more balance to the argument without compromising his conviction that Giuliani is a right-wing monster. That fault aside, "Giuliani Time" is a skilled, exhaustive look into the controversial political life of a national figure -- one who we're likely to see an awful lot more of in the near future.
Directed by Kevin Keating. Produced by Kevin Keating and Williams Cole. A Cinema Libre release. Documentary. Unrated. Running time: 119 min