Bannon is almost sympathetic at some points in American Dharma—the keyword is almost. While Morris gives his subject room to explain himself, he never stops taking him to task. It’s when this happens that we see how deep in denial and embroiled in his own rhetoric Mr. Bannon is, and for a brief moment, you feel sorry for him until you remember he might be the actual Biblical devil. In conjunction with that, there is a scene where Morris says to Bannon, “I’ve been reading Milton’s Paradise Lost a lot lately, and you remind me a lot of Lucifer in that story.” to which Bannon laughs and says, “I’d rather rule in hell than serve in heaven,” which is a world-famous line from the classic book, “Yeah I say that all the time.”
It’s really hard to say if this was Bannon’s attempt to spread the word to a broader audience, or what exactly. At times, he is entirely on point, and at others, we do see his veneer crack a little bit, especially when Morris admits to Bannon that he voted for Hillary Clinton in the primary.
“I’d rather rule in hell than serve in heaven…”
“You voted for Hillary Clinton? You, who directed The Fog of War?” he exclaims with what seems like a legitimate surprise. It looks as though Bannon is a fan of Morris’ films, considering that Bannon is a documentarian himself, not that I’ve ever seen any of his movies, including an “avant-garde film for Conservatives” that I forgot the name of that can probably be found on Breitbart or 4chan if you feel like torturing yourself.
It really is a shame that someone with as much capability and intelligence as Bannon uses those powers to legitimately tear the legacy of this country to shreds. His whole agenda and personality and almost the crux of the entire documentary can be summed up in the following exchange between him and Morris:
Errol Morris: Do you just want to destroy everything? Clean out the decks and make way for the new?
Steve Bannon: I want to clean out some of the underbrush, yeah.
The thing is, I’m pretty sure most of us knew that or at least suspected as much. However, I suggest anyone and everyone see American Dharma to know precisely what kind of saboteurs our country is up against, and to, in the words of Rage Against The Machine, “Know Your Enemy!”
American Dharma screened at the 2018 New York Film Festival.
"…we do see his veneer crack a little bit."