Although he’s been gone from the earthly realm for nearly thirty-five years, the influence of the legendary and infamous attorney at law, Roy Cohn, continues to be felt. The new documentary from filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer, director of last year’s superb documentary on Studio 54, Where’s My Roy Cohn makes that point all too clear. For starters, our current sitting president was a protégé of Mr. Cohn and, regardless of one’s political persuasion, it’s all too easy to see how Cohn’s approach to both his life and his career have trickled down and are now a part of the current culture in which we find ourselves. If it was immortality Cohn was seeking, this film seems to be saying he may well have pulled off that feat.

Roy Cohn with young Donald Trump

Cohn’s tactics were the stuff legends are made of and not necessarily the good kind. Beginning his career in the 1950s as one of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s cronies during the Senator’s historic communist witch hunts, Cohn somehow managed to escape that stigma and go on to forge a career as a lawyer who would stop at nothing in achieving his goals. His tactics were questionable but he got results. Eventually the chickens came home to roost, as they say, but not before Cohn ruined untold numbers of lives, even sending a possibly innocent couple (Julius and Ethel Rosenberg) to their deaths. Tyrnauer’s powerful film packs quite a wallop and is an excellent primer for those unfamiliar with its subject.

Where’s My Roy Cohn opens in Charlotte on October 4th.
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