Holocaust survivor and philanthropist George Soros is profiled in the new documentary, Soros, from filmmaker Jesse Dylan.
Two decades ago, Michael Kaufman wrote what is currently the definitive biography of Soros. Dylan gets the necessary access needed to make a Soros documentary for the screen. This is also one of those films that plays better while watching at home rather than the big screen. Telluride audiences certainly benefited from getting to experience the documentary inside a theater. The experience isn’t really necessary unless you also want to have a conversation after the fact. Even watching at home, you can’t help but think that the film could be longer. A longer running time would certainly paint a fuller picture. For what we have, Soros does the job but just barely.
Bring up Soros’s name and you’d be hard-pressed to find a Jewish person that does not immediately accuse you of an anti-Semitic dog whistle. Tweet his name or post an Instagram story and the replies start almost immediately. As do the articles about–well, you get the idea. There are no shortage of conspiracy theories when it comes to the guy. This sort of just goes with the territory, I suppose. He is a lifelong crusader against authoritarianism and hatred because of his experiences in the Holocaust. For the record, Soros no longer practices Judaism and has been highly critical of Israeli policies.
The film opens with a montage of conservatives spouting off nonsense about Soros. He’s been called everything in the book from “puppet master” to you name it. There are interviews with Tucker Carlson weaved into this. Carlson also appears later on in the film. Yes, the same Carlson who agreed this year with a guest after they said the Holocaust survivor “wants to watch American burn.” Tucker, you’re better than that! Thankfully, Carlson does not get much screen time here. His appearance is mostly to serve as one of Soros’s critics. It is not an understatement to say that the conservative viewpoints in the clips are enough to make one cringe. Let’s not forget the Hungarian prime minister. For some reason or another, he has some sort of vendetta against Soros. It makes no sense…
Fleeing communist Hungary for England in 1947, he would graduate from the London School of Economics. Following a stay in England, he would eventually make his way to the United States. While he was making money, he started to make a name for himself as a philanthropist in 1979. Both individuals and organizations in 120 counties regularly benefit from the The Open Society Foundations. With an annual budget of over $1 billion dollars, you couldn’t not make regular contributions. Being a philanthropist should not be a bad thing and yet when it comes to the topic of Soros, it somehow is depending on who you ask.
Among those interviewed are Lord Mark Malloch-Brown. The former UN Deputy Secretary-General is a longtime associate of the philantropost. It naturally makes sense that he would have some sort of insight into his life.
Jonathan Soros, Andrea Soros Colombel, Robert Soros, and Alexander Soros are also interviewed in the film. It would be hard to get a full portrait without bringing in his family for interviews.
All in all, I don’t think an hour and a half is enough time to paint a full portrait of Soros. With the run time, you’re basically hitting all the major points in his life. This isn’t to say that Jesse Dylan doesn’t do his best. It isn’t easy to get the man on camera for an interview but if you want a brief version of his story, this film is the documentary for you. At worst, you’ll come away knowing that all the conspiracy theories are wrong.
DIRECTOR: Jesse Dylan
FEATURING: George Soros