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CINEMA: Blackmail Is My Life

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NEW YORK TIMES: Roger J. Stone Jr., the subject and star of “Get Me Roger Stone,” struts through this documentary with peacock feathers fully fanned. He’s first heard from a perch in some luxury digs, dressed in a tailored chalk-stripe suit with an olive martini at the ready. “My name is Roger Stone,” he says, “and I’m an agent provocateur.” The scene suggests James Bond cosplay, although it’s worth mentioning that the definition of an agent provocateur isn’t a supercool British fantasy spy but someone who persuades others to do wrong.

So, who is Mr. Stone persuading? It’s an inevitable question given his relationship with President Trump and how Mr. Stone’s name just keeps popping up in the news churn. […] Whatever else, this is killer timing for Netflix, which is releasing “Get Me Roger Stone” on Friday in theaters and via streaming. That’s especially true because in any other year and perhaps under any other administration, this documentary — the directors are Daniel DiMauro, Dylan Bank and Morgan Pehme — might have disappeared into the ether. But topicality is all or at least a large part of the movie’s draw. A sometimes illuminating, often slapdash and frustrating affair that mixes on-the-scenes bits, found material and original interviews (with the likes of Jeffrey Toobin), it opens with Mr. Trump accepting the presidential nomination in July 2016 and ends soon after his election. Much of the rest is a chronological march through Mr. Stone’s life, which is studded with scandal and boldfaced names like Roy Cohn.

As it maps the road to Trumpville, the movie offers glimpses of Mr. Stone’s youth, including an oft-repeated story about a light-bulb encounter with Barry Goldwater’s book “The Conscience of a Conservative.” An ideological true believer is born who backs legal pot and has a few Nixon-theme bongs that he likes to show off along with his other Nixonian paraphernalia. After a brush with Watergate, Mr. Stone pokes around here and there; works for both of Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaigns; and helps establish a firm that grew into Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelly, one of a number of companies that earned the nickname “the torturers’ lobby” for repping countries condemned as human-rights abusers. MORE

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