Documentary Review: YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED

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youve-been-trumped-posterAs you may have assumed from its title, You’ve Been Trumped is about Donald Trump — or, more specifically, it’s about the environmental impact that is likely to result from the real estate mogul’s construction of a golf course complex along the scenic coast of Scotland, at the Menie Estate, near the village of Balmedie, just north of Aberdeen.

Anthony Baxter’s film traces Trump’s behavior and the development of the Trump International Golf Links project from the time Trump purchased the Menie Estate in 2005, to the present.

This Land Is My Land!

After buying the pristine and protected land, Trump applied to the Aberdeenshire Council to obtain permits to build on it. His plans covered construction of a large luxury golf course complex, consisting of two 18-hole golf courses, a large luxury hotel, 500 private homes and about 1,000 holiday cottages.

He pronounced, with his application, that construction would create some 6,000 jobs and infuse capital into the Scottish economy.

The Menie Estate is — or was — the wild and beautiful dune-like habitat for indigenous flora and fauna, including endangered species.

The wilderness preserve and retreat also borders on the town of Balmedie, a community of some 3,000 residents who were accustomed to using the estate as a recreation area and retreat.

A Done Deal For The Dunes

Fearing that the construction and subsequent traffic would disrupt their peaceful rural way of life, the townsfolk began to protest and have been protesting vociferously since Trump’s golf course course of action was announced. They tried to block the start of construction and, having failed to achieve that goal, are still struggling to prevent further destruction of the natural environment and counter the disappointing disregard for their way of life.

There’s some scandal, too. When Trump first applied for permission to build, the Aberdeenshire Council’s Planning Committee rejected his proposal by one vote. That was in 2007. But, shortly thereafter, the Scottish Parliament stepped in and took up the application for reconsideration and, in 2008, decided to grant Trump his permits.

Money Matters Most

Scotland’s Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, John Swinney, announced Trump’s triumph, stating that the project’s economic benefits outweighed the environmental costs.

Soon thereafter, Trump’s invading army of engineers and workers began tearing up the dunes and the environment that Mother Nature developed over eons was suddenly — slam, bam, thank you ma’am — gone. The introduction and use of heavy machinery is causing pollution and interfering with the livelihood of farmers and fishermen.

Now, as construction continues, local citizens, joined by environmental groups, continue to protest and try to prevent further destruction of the natural environment. You’ve Been Trumped serves as advocate for their cause.

It is a superb and shocking film, one that presents a well formulated and highly credible indictment of the Scottish government’s disregard for its constituents, and is an expose of Trump’s greed and his utter disregard for local folk, culture and traditions.

The Real Donald Trump

Baxter’s fly-on-the-wall footage reveals Trump behavior towards his new neighbors — the people of Balmedie — as just as arrogant and contemptuous as his treatment of the contestants on his television reality show, The Apprentice. But, of course, those reality toadies have signed up for and submit willingly to his abuse, while the citizens of Balmedie have not. The highlanders are determined to withstand Trump. The situation makes for some powerful real life drama. You’ve Been Trumped is a powerfully engaging advocacy documentary.

Film Details:

Title: You’ve Been Trumped
Director: Anthony Baxter
Premiere: May 3, 2011 (Hot Docs, Toronto)
Running Time: 95 mins.
Parents Advisory: Advisory for content
Location: Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Language: English
Production Company: Montage Pictures, Ltd
Official Website

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