04 July 2012

Sublime Reviews... You've Been Trumped

Written by Published in Film

Despite its jaunty title, You’ve Been Trumped is a serious piece of documentary film-making of high importance. At once a stirring, sickening portrait of the very worst side of capitalism, as well as a poignant image of a community in despair, Trumped follows the development of Donald Trump’s Trump International Golf Links Scotland, a massive golf and hotel complex on the North East coast of Scotland, and the furore generated by its construction. You may have seen tit-bits of the issue in the press, but this documentary gives a real, intensely human perspective

Initially one worries about the bias. The first half hour of the film paints an unflattering picture of Trump, and you start to worry that this will be a one-sided affair. The emphasis is on heritage and memory, and you expect the film to play out as a battle between old and new. Yet as you watch on, you realise there really is no other stand to take except against the development, and that the battle is in fact that age-old war between good and evil.alt

Trump’s promises (environmental, social and personal) are proved to be lies by a series of experts (ecologists, scientists, economists), and by the images we see on screen. One despairs at a political system that, blinded by money and power, sanctions the destruction of a 'Site of Special Scientific Interest' and threatens those it is supposed to protect.

The political policing of the Grampian Police and the threatening behaviour of Trump’s security culminate in a distressing scene of censorship which really makes you question the sort of society we live in. Trump’s dirty tactics - shutting off the water supply, forcing arrests (of the film-makers and residents), and invading property lack any basic humanity, and it is frankly disturbing that this is a man with half an eye on the presidency. 

altWords that come to mind while watching the film include ‘brutality’, ‘disheartening’, ‘despair’. Where is the hope? Well it is certainly hard to find, and during the film’s darkest moments you believe it’s gone. But then you realise it’s in the small things. In the strength of the community. The sheer bravery of the film-makers and residents. The possibility for laughter in the midst of destruction. But mostly it’s the fact we are able to see this film at all. The message and the struggle have an articulate voice in Baxter and his film, and our faith in democracy can be partially restored.

This is why it’s important that if you can see this film, you do, so that the story of the destruction of ecology, environment, homes and lives can spread.

A travesty occurred in the North of Scotland, which is not possible to believe unless you watch this documentary. It isn’t flashy film-making but it’s solid and honest, and Baxter obviously cares deeply for the residents he is working with. It is both equally engrossing and frustrating; disheartening yes, but not bleak. It is an important watch for everyone, the development affected everything: ecology, history, politics, people. You've Been Trumped documents a moment in Scottish history that you mustn't let pass you by.

You've been Trumped will be screened this coming Friday at St.Andrews New Picture House. For further information on upcoming screenings in your area and how you too can take action please go to

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