The Wagon Wheel
The Man at the Top
When Dirty Money dropped back in 2018, it brought with it an eye opening, shocking and emotionally stirring documentary series. Exposing corruption and an unprecedented level of law-breaking for the super-elite, Dirty Money bowed out 2018 with one of the best documentaries of the year. In an already stacked line-up of documentaries in 2020 so far, Dirty Money returns for its second season and six more shocking tales to digest.
Much like last season, each of the episodes stand on their own as individual tales with their own directorial style, although most follow the same sort of criteria. Once again the Trump family hit the spotlight, this time in the form of Jared Kushner and his real estate business, while everything else from Formosa’s environmentally damning plastic plants, guardianship exploitation and Wells Fargo’s big scams are explored across each of the hour-long episodes.
Most of the episodes are fair, packed full of information and well-paced throughout. Each of the different segments begin with a broad overview of the case at hand before jumping back in time and seeing the history and beginning of each issue. From here, face to face interviews and archival footage combine with diagrams, cartoons, expository text and everything in between to form the crux of this series. If you’ve seen the first then this will hold no surprises but it’s the stylistic differences between each episode that keeps things interesting and unique.
Whether it be whizzing past front page news headlines on a black background or an air-pollution diagram that seamlessly blends with an aerial shot of Point Comfort, each of the episodes have a good amount of creativity injected into them to keep you coming back for more. It’s partly why the series works as well as it does and the impartial viewpoint (aside from those episodes where people refused to engage with Netflix’s film crews of course) help give a balanced view-point despite the overwhelming amount of evidence against them.
Your favourite episodes may vary of course but personally the guardian exploitation and Jared Kushner episodes were the highlights of the show, partly due to the amount of knowledge and emotionally stirring accounts that are shown in both. Hearing the elderly men and women losing everything thanks to being exploited through power of attorneys are hard to watch. The moments seeing a man looking over the demolished remains of his childhood home or hearing a desperate mother of 3 losing everything thanks to Kushner’s ruthlessness are particularly moving but these emotionally charged stories crop up right the way through the show.
Once again Dirty Money exposes the corruption, exploitation and outright crooked nature for some of the world’s most powerful players. It’s an eye opening and poignant reminder that money talks and no matter the cost, these men and women will always be above the law. If there’s one documentary series you watch this year – make sure it’s this one.
Verdict - 9/10