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Always verify someone who claims they are a Rockefeller

WHO IS CLARK ROCKEFELLER?


I thought this was going to be a movie about one of the Rockefellers. Yes, just who is Clark Rockefeller, I wondered. He’s got their last name but I don’t know about that family member in particular. I think if you married a guy with that name you would have similar questions. So imagine my surprise when I discovered it’s a story about this guy who just pretended to be that guy. Imagine the surprise of his wife, who found out after they already had a daughter together. And that he probably murdered people.

This movie is based on a real story, and I’m passionate about this because I don’t remember hearing about it. But throughout the movie there are real clips from news programs talking about this. Where was I during all this Clark Rockefeller business.

The guy from Will and Grace plays Clark Rockefeller. For most of the film he’s got goofy glasses and a five o clock shadow. Apparently the real guy this whole fiasco was based on looked the same way:

Like a cross between Martin Scorsese and Steven Soderbergh. Pretty hard to miss in a crowd. But he also wore disguises and at one point after kidnapping his daughter he cut her hair so she would look like a boy. In the movie the FBI explain to his wife that he tried everything from running for city council, working as a physicist at MIT, and even hosted his own talk show. And still nobody connected the dots. Certainly not his wife, Mrs. I-graduated-from-Harvard-with-an-MBA.  Who knows, this guy may have even been one of our lesser known presidents or managed to ride shotgun on one of the Apollo missions.

For a made-for-TV production, it’s an interesting subject and also predictable in its execution. It is generally humorless, but once in awhile some weird scenes show up. At one part, his wife talks to the cops and explains he had anger issues. Then we flashback to a few scenes where he gets mad. In one, a paparazzi tries taking his picture and he flips out on him since he wants to remain anonymous. It gave me pause because if he is always attending these upscale social parties and goes crazy when someone takes his picture, after awhile nobody would invite him anymore. The straw on the camel’s back that starts breaking his marriage apart is when his wife comes home and finds him building a mote around their house, which is already in an isolated part of New Hampshire. His wife has to commute three hours from there just to work in Boston, but he won’t live in Boston because he wants to be left alone. And after such a long trip the last thing she wants to see is a mote around the house.

The acting from the Will and Grace guy is sufficiently creepy. I suspect he auditioned for the role of The Stepfather.  Both films have similar journeys for the protagonist. But I thought the premise of the Stepfather was ridiculous. Turns out it’s not so far removed from reality as I thought. That is perhaps the most unsettling part of it all. Since Mr. Rockefeller (his real German name is difficult to pronounce and write) was also a “person of interest” in homicides during his cross-country spree pretending to be different people, it adds a nasty layer to the whole thing.

He’s supposed to be paroled in 2012. My advice is that someone keep a close eye on him. I’d rather not suffer through the sequel.

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