“We Wuz Robbed” is Spike Lee’s 10 minute short featuring several members of Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign talking about the dubious loss of the Florida electoral votes to George W. Bush. The short, originally presented as part of a larger anthology titled “Ten Minutes Older: The Trumpet,” had its US debut in a solo presentation at the New York Film Festival.
The film is not, by any stretch, a balanced view of what happened in Florida. It is entirely focused on how the Gore team recalls the night of the 2000 election, from the early reports of irregular voting procedures in Florida to the controversy of the butterfly ballots (in which supposedly confused voters cast ballots for Pat Buchanan rather than Gore) and the confusion over Gore’s initial concession and then his retraction of that concession (which put Bush in a hissy fit).
“We Wuz Robbed” is shot in beautiful black-and-white and edited with staccato genius; the film compresses the prolonged Florida vote controversy into such a compact state that the audience is left breathless by the speed and sharpness of the presentation. The film is rich with sound bites designed to make the Bush League look foolish (Florida Governor Jeb Bush is called “Jeb Crow Bush” at one point, in reference to reports of disenfranchised African-American voters) and Gore look like a hero (someone comments that Gore campaigned furiously to the end while Bush took days of rest in the weeks prior to the vote).
Of course, the film completely fails to mention that the belated final tally in Florida was actually in Bush’s favor (albeit by a very slim margin) and that Gore would have won the election without Florida if he carried his own home state of Tennessee. But whoever said politics or filmmaking was fair?