‘Where’s My Roy Cohn?’ Review: Documentary On Ruthless NY Lawyer Shows His Chilling Influence From Beyond The Grave

Donald Trump, left, Mayor Ed Koch, center, and Roy Cohn in 1983 at the Trump Tower opening in New York. (Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images)

By Pete Hammond | 18 September 2019

DEADLINE — “Power in the hands of someone that reckless and arrogant is a dangerous thing.” So says the last interviewee at the end of Where’s My Roy Cohn?, Matt Tyrnauer’s fascinating and timely new documentary on the life of infamous and, many say, evil New York lawyer Roy Cohn. He’s the man known for serving as Chief Counsel of the Army-McCarthy hearings of the 1950s; his ties to crime figures like John Gotti; and most notably now his uncanny influence on and mentorship of Donald Trump, for whom he was a personal lawyer in the ’70s and ’80s.

Ruthless, unethical, corrupt, reckless, quintessential fixer, arrogant, demagogue, unscrupulous, notorious, evil, liar — those are just some of the words thrown about by interviewees in this pertinent docu to describe the subject on whom Tyrnauer has pointed his laser-sharp focus. “If you were in his presence, you knew you were in the presence of evil,” reads the ad line for the movie Sony Pictures Classics puts in theaters this week.

The director does a comprehensive job of digging deep into the background and psyche of a man who rose to be feared among rivals. He was friends with Richard Nixon, Ronald and Nancy Reagan and Barbara Walters, among others, and a complete contradiction with the people he defended and the private life he led, hiding his homosexuality to his death bed in 1986, when he passed away due to complications of AIDS. He was 59 and still deep in the closet, a man whose motto was “deny, deny, deny.” He would live a life promoting the idea of never apologizing for anything and attacking anyone in his way. […]

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