Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 24
  2. Negative: 2 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Nov 11, 2010
    88
    Client 9 speaks plenty of truth - about politics, power, human nature - even if you don't buy into the hit-job hypothesis.
  2. Reviewed by: Stan Hall
    Nov 18, 2010
    83
    Popping with intrigue, intelligence and colorful New York characters seemingly straight out of a paperback potboiler.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Nov 13, 2010
    83
    Tries mightily to make the case that Spitzer was brought down by his political enemies.
  4. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Nov 3, 2010
    83
    Deepens the saga of New York's former governor and attorney general into the paradoxical morality play it really was. Spitzer, almost three years after he was caught soliciting escorts, comes off as chastened but still regal, like a hawkeyed Jewish Kennedy.
  5. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Jan 13, 2011
    80
    No simple tabloid recap. Gibney applies himself to two mysteries, neither of which he unravels but both of which make for gripping cinema.
  6. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Nov 11, 2010
    80
    Made with the on-camera cooperation of Spitzer (though not his wife), it is a sad, disturbing and in some ways tragic tale that in its lurid combination of sex and politics, banal hypocrisy and bare-knuckles power, seems very much an American story of our times.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Nov 5, 2010
    80
    Gibney puts mystery back into a story we thought we knew.
  8. Reviewed by: Kirk Honeycutt
    Nov 1, 2010
    80
    In retelling the still-astonishing story of the political career of Eliot Spitzer, a shooting star whose spectacular crash might forever obscure his accomplishments, Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney has all the ingredients for a potboiler: greed, corruption, sex, power, overweening ambition and jaw-dropping hubris.
  9. 80
    It's probably easier for an ex-prosecutor known for macho threats to say he got caught screwing than for him to say he got screwed. But folks, he was reamed.
  10. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Nov 1, 2010
    80
    For all the information here, Gibney is unusual among investigative documentarians in that he never forgets he's making cinema.
  11. Reviewed by: Kate Taylor
    Nov 19, 2010
    75
    When Spitzer resigned, they broke out champagne on the stock exchange trading floor. Shame on them.
  12. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Nov 18, 2010
    75
    Spitzer was undone by his zipper, but as Client 9 makes clear, he was also undone by his refusal - or inability - to make nice with some of the state's most powerful characters.
  13. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Nov 12, 2010
    75
    At times Client 9 feels frustratingly incomplete. Gibney hints at a conspiracy among Spitzer's enemies but is unable to fully substantiate this thesis.
  14. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    Nov 11, 2010
    75
    Client 9 doesn't make any excuses for Spitzer, who is interviewed extensively in the film and who wisely insists that he alone is responsible for his fate.
  15. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Nov 4, 2010
    75
    The film rescues the story from tabloid hell, and asks for a saner assessment of a deeply flawed man.
  16. Reviewed by: Michelle Orange
    Nov 2, 2010
    75
    As Gibney and Spitzer are at pains to point out, it's a story as old as Icarus: Man rises to power; man makes enemies; man gets greedy and is undone.
  17. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Nov 11, 2010
    70
    Say what you will about Eliot Spitzer, he's a marvelous subject for a documentary, and Alex Gibney has made a film worthy of him.
  18. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Nov 4, 2010
    70
    Those swayed by the argument in Client 9 that some of the rich and powerful whom Mr. Spitzer crusaded against might have exploited his stupidity should find all this enthralling. Others might just remember the hubris.
  19. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Nov 2, 2010
    70
    Spitzer, whose tireless efforts to redeem himself led to his cooperation in this doc, receives an entirely sympathetic-yet thoroughly researched-treatment from Gibney.
  20. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Nov 11, 2010
    63
    Gibney has too much information, too much material, and too many people to shape a mystery or a drama or even a farce out of it all. His movie has elements of all three without ever sustaining one.
  21. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Nov 5, 2010
    50
    If Client 9 plays a lot like a murky, gripping political thriller, it lacks a fully satisfying ending -- or a fully satisfying hero.
  22. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Nov 3, 2010
    40
    The more substantial material, including Spitzer's feuds with vindictive New York politician Joe Bruno and financier Ken Langone, gets short shrift.
  23. Reviewed by: Vadim Rizov
    Nov 6, 2010
    30
    The case may be plausible, but Gibney's method - a singularly unimaginative trawl through archival footage and listlessly edited talking heads - is life-sapping to watch, and his editorial contributions laughably literal-minded.
  24. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Nov 5, 2010
    25
    Let us return to reality (all this happened less than three years ago; do documentarians think we don't read the papers?).
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Mar 18, 2012
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. The film is well-shot and paced, with lots of original sources speaking. The efforts of Spitzer to bring some fairness and justice to Wall Street and Albany are somewhat detailed, are fascinating and deserve a whole film of their own. It seems he was quite ahead of the curve in the matters of unregulated banking and investing gone wild and its ultimate effects on our economy. Depictions of the rise of the escort service that he was eventually linked to seems extraneous compared to the interesting evidence shown that the exposure of his activities outside marriage were driven by a high-tech lynch mob with deep Wall Street pockets. It is sad to see yet another example of how much influence the powerful and wealthy have over political and legal matters, but it was refreshing to see, at the end, how Spitzer is unusually gracious and unbitter in his mea culpa regarding the use of prostitutes. Full Review »
  2. Jun 19, 2011
    7
    Highly democratic in nature, the film still gives a great timeline and portrait of what happened to Governor Spitzer. Many excuses are brightHighly democratic in nature, the film still gives a great timeline and portrait of what happened to Governor Spitzer. Many excuses are bright to the table but with Eliot on record in the documentary he owns up to all that was done in dramatic fashion. Full Review »
  3. Jan 4, 2011
    5
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