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A Dangerous Game

2014
Distributed by Bond/360, 42 Bond Street, Third Floor, New York, NY 10012 212.354.2650
Produced by Montrose Pictures, Montrose, Scotland, UK
Directed by Anthony Baxter
DVD, color, 120 min.
College - General Adult
Luxury Golf Courses, Resort Property Developers, Environmental Impacts of Development, Economic Consequences of Development


Reviewed by Gary D. Byrd, University at Buffalo (SUNY)

Recommended   
 
Date Entered: 4/14/2016

This provocative, and politically current, little documentary focuses on a luxury golf course development project funded by billionaire Donald Trump in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The film is a sequel to filmmaker, Anthony Baxter’s previous 2011 documentary You’ve Been Trumped, which also focused on the controversy surrounding the same Trump luxury golf course project in Scotland. The film is also most probably an opportunistic attempt to cash in on Mr. Trump’s current notoriety as a potential Republican Party candidate for US President. A Dangerous Game does expand its focus somewhat beyond Trump to also include shorter segments on a couple of other controversial luxury golf course development projects, including a course that was planned for the barren rocky plateau just above the UNESCO World Heritage Site coastal city of Dubrovnik, Croatia and another “Tiger Woods” course that was to have been carved into the desert outside Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. In all three cases, a combination of over-ambitious and arrogantly-hubristic optimism by the developers, and well-organized protests by neighboring communities, led to failed projects, but with a sad legacy of spoiled natural landscapes.

Documentary filmmaker Anthony Baxter and his Montrose Pictures production company have focused their work to date almost entirely on exposing the impact of Trump and a few other luxury golf course resort developers. A Dangerous Game is the second of three films on this subject, and it has been screened to date at some thirteen film festivals in Europe, North America and Japan. The Montrose Pictures website notes that Baxter is currently working on a new film investigating the recent polluted drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

A Dangerous Game is fairly effective in suggesting to general audiences the potentially very negative ecology and economic impacts of these kinds of luxury golf course resort projects, but it will not be as useful to educators seeking a source of trustworthy documentary evidence and data to support the case for restricting this kind of development. The film limits itself to interviews with concerned citizens, local politicians, and the developer/promoters. Strong opinions are expressed and the negative impacts on these landscapes are strongly suggested in the film’s images, but little real evidence is presented.