Extremist, right wing populism isn’t just an American thing these days, as Nick Hampson and Stephen Robert Morse capture Dutch politician Geert Wilders in the wild. It’s a rare thing to watch, like sitting down with Bigfoot and having a comforting cup of tea, while discussing genocide.
In “EuroTrump,” filmmakers Hampson and Morse gained unprecedented access to one of the world’s most hated political leaders, Geert Wilders. Morse managed to score an interview with the infamous man merely by asking. Yes, the old adage that “you can’t win the lottery, without first buying a ticket” rings true, as the cameras roll for Wilders to articulate and defend his anti-Islam message. One wonders whether these intrepid directors and their tiny crew wore bullet-proof vests the whole time.
The film grants Wilders a chance to explain, but it’s near to impossible for him to justify his positions without looking, well, Hitler-like. His creepy appearance, involving the coloring of his coiffed hair blonde, only adds to the unease. It doesn’t stop there, as we see him surrounded by armed guards and traveling in black limousine convoys. In one scene, he is shown putting on a flak jacket.
Wilders advocates for the complete elimination of Islam as a religion, a kind of genocidal campaign. His views, to put it kindly, are terribly uninformed, and nakedly mercenary—he’s ridden a wave to gain cult, celebrity status. The guy seems to have taken cues from American politician George Wallace.
Having spent a sizable part of my life married to a Muslim and in the good graces of many followers of Islam, I can say that extremist elements are just that, extreme and not common. As a Baptist, raised in the South, I was always treated with the upmost respect. Wilders takes the position that any good must be thrown out with the bad, and he’s not alone. No room is made for discourse and attempted understanding.
An excellently crafted film, Hampson, who shot most of the picture himself, floods the movie with images of the Dutch people going about their daily lives. And these mundanities are set against the audio backdrop of Wilder’s and others’ extremist ideology. One definitely gets the impression that a storm is on the horizon, even as the population mills about like worker bees—a coffee, let’s get lunch, and by the way, how about shutting down all the mosques in the city, while we’re at it?
Morse and Hampson smartly balance Wilders’ positions with competing experts on the Islam extremist subject. It is a solid point-counterpoint. And Wilders arguments come off as completely impractical. Elimination of Islam is just not really possible, but Wilders would have it no other way. Compromise doesn’t work in his world.
One thing I couldn’t shake about Wilders was this picture of his wife. She’s not interviewed, but I felt incredibly concerned for her. Wilders’ war on Islam has, no doubt, taken its toll on her. In one scene, he talks about how he and his wife decided not to have children. One can only speculate as to the myriad of reasons for this, but Wilders acknowledges that bringing children into his crusade would not likely be a safe thing. But his poor wife, she has to be a target of the extreme.
Providing the viewer with an interview that you can see no where else, “EuroTrump” is a unique film that gives us a balanced take on an extremist view that is rising in popularity. Bigfoot doesn’t actually make an appearance in the film, but I’m sure that he (or she) wouldn’t refuse a cup of tea, while discussing the efficacy of terrorizing campers in the wilderness. Talk doesn’t come cheap.