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Edinburgh film festival review: A Dangerous Game

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  • by ALISTAIR HARKNESS
 

REVOLVING around the failed efforts of locals to bloc Donald Trump’s golf development on a scientifically important dune system on the Menie estate in Aberdeeshire, Anthony Baxter’s brilliant 2011 film You’ve Been Trumped was, somewhat ridiculously, passed over by that year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival.

A Dangerous Game

Directed by: Anthony Baxter

Star ratign: * * * *

Mercifully, no such mistake has been made with his follow up, which receives its Scottish premiere in Edinburgh tonight.

A sequel to Trumped that functions as both a what-happened-next inquiry and a broader investigation into the damaging environmental impact of luxury golf course construction around the world, A Dangerous Game does what any good sequel should by deepening our understanding of the saga and ramping up the spectacle. The latter comes courtesy of the globe-hopping nature of Baxter’s investigation and a showdown with Trump himself, who is at least honest about his reason for agreeing to sit down with Baxter this time. “You’re a much more important person,” Trump tells him – a fantastically bald-faced piece of self-aggrandizement on Trump’s part that also serves as an unwitting acknowledgement that Baxter’s original film wasn’t the “failed documentary” Trump repeatedly insisted it was.

Naturally, Baxter saves this for the film’s climax, kicking off A Dangerous Game instead with a run-through of the main points from You’ve Been Trumped to provide some context for how universal its themes have turned out to be. Indeed, just as golf began in Scotland and spread across the world, so Baxter finds himself investigating a proposal for a golf resort on the arid hillsides overlooking the Croatian city of Dubrovnik; exploring the ghost-town like environs of a failed resort in Las Vegas, and being show how maintaining the lush greens of a course in the Hamptons is having a negative impact on the supply of drinking water to locals. Back in Aberdeenshire, there’s still plenty of anger at Trump, of course, but also at Alex Salmond, in whose constituency the Menie estate lies (interview requests with the First Minister were declined).

Baxter weaves all this together into a fascinating and fairly damning indictment not so much of golf, but of the arrogant culture of exclusivity that has overtaken it worldwide. And while anyone who’s been following the story will know this film has a somewhat happier ending, it remains a plea for eternal vigilance. As environmental lawyer Robert F Kennedy Jr puts it: “There are lots of Donald Trumps out there.”

• A Dangerous Game screens at the Edinburgh International Film Festival today and 28th June. For times and tickets visit www.edfilmfest.org.uk

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