Active Measures (film)

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Active Measures is a 2018 documentary film by director Jack Bryan.[1] It is the first major documentary to address the allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and agents of the Russian state.[2]


External video
video icon Panel discussion on Russian influence in the U.S., featuring Jack Bryan and others, October 20, 2018, C-SPAN

The film suggests that Vladimir Putin is behind a 30-year history of covert political warfare.[3] Soviet and Russian security services (Cheka, OGPU, NKVD, KGB, FSB) use the term "active measures" (Russian: активные мероприятия) for the actions of political warfare to influence the course of world events, in addition to collecting intelligence and producing "politically correct" assessment of it.[4]

Director Jack Bryan is the son of Shelby Bryan. Born in New York City, he spent his early childhood at an Upper East Side, Park Avenue townhouse, but the majority of his childhood moving around the United States and Europe. Bryan attended Eugene Lang College within The New School as an undergraduate.[3] Bryan was hired as a columnist for Quest,[5] and became an Editor at Large. Bryan directed the documentary Life After Dark: The Story of Siberia Bar, released in 2009.[6] Jack and Shelby Bryan lived in the same social circles of real-estate, Palm Beach, and the Upper East Side as Donald Trump.[3][7][8]

Filming started 10 May 2017 and continued until September 2017.[9]

On August 6 2018, on CNN, Bryan said that Trump had sold five Trump Tower condos to a Russian mobster named David Bogatin in 1984.[10][11] BBC Newsnight reported on Donald Trump's business links to the mob in March 2016.[12]

On August 2, 2018, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Bryan claimed that Trump resorted to Russian money, after bankruptcies at Trump properties in the 1990s, that made it hard to get loans from American banks. Trump's involvement with members of the Russian mob began in 2002.[13]

On May 8 2018, CBC Radio's Day 6 episode 388 reports that, after the bankruptcies, Bayrock Group, a real estate firm with Russian backing moved into Trump Tower. Bayrock's manager was Felix Sater, a convicted felon and childhood friend of Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen. "They went on their first date together" Bryan says. "They did a lot of business together."[14]

The film includes interviews with people such as: Sheldon Whitehouse, Michael McFaul, John McCain, Evan McMullin, Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, James Woolsey, Clint Watts, Mikheil Saakashvili, John Dean, Jeremy Bash, Eric Swalwell, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Daniel Fried, Stephen Holmes (CIA) aka "Steven Hall", Nina Burleigh, Michael Isikoff, Craig Unger, John Mattes, Steven Pifer, and Asha Rangappa.


Active Measures premiered in April 2018 at the Hot Docs festival, in Toronto, and was released by Super LTD, a film distribution company on August 31, 2018.[15][16][17][18] It began showing at Landmark Theatres Washington D.C., for example.[19] It is also on iTunes,[20][21] Hulu,[22] Vudu,[23] FandangoNOW,[24] Google Play,[25] and Amazon.[26]

Critical reception[edit]

Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter calls it "well researched and truly frightening ... One of the doc's strengths is the amazing number of 'gets' (onscreen interview subjects) procured by the filmmakers."[18]

Todd Gilchrist of TheWrap says, "Most damning, though, is the sophisticated way that Bryan and Clements lay flat the history of technological attacks launched against oppositional regimes, and how brutally impactful they were because of attackers’ profound understanding of the psychologies of the sociocultural ecosystems into which they were released."[27]

Charles Bramesco of The Guardian writes, "this exhaustive documentary struggles to move past outrage ... Bryan synthesizes dozens upon dozens of articles for a more circumspect view of Russia's ongoing meddling in American politics, running the risk of overloading his viewers instead of, er, under-loading them."[28]

Bruce DeMara of the Toronto Star says, "For anyone trying to navigate the labyrinth of personalities and events behind the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the last U.S. presidential election, this film is a comprehensive and indispensable primer."[29]

Hillary Clinton tweeted, "...a fascinating summation of the Russia story."[30][31]

Owen Gleiberman, chief film critic for Variety writes "...Active Measures names the names and fills in the flowchart of Trump’s corruption with gripping authority."[32]

Alan Scherstuhl of the Village Voice felt that " 'Active Measures' Accidentally Makes Trump-Russia Collusion Sound Like Mad Propaganda[,]" and that "Bryan’s case is less journalistic than propagandistic, his film assembled like an endless negative campaign ad[.]" [33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ken Jaworowski (August 30, 2018). "Review: 'Active Measures' Looks at Links Between Trump and Russia". Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  2. ^ Noah Millman (August 31, 2018). "How Active Measures falls into the Trump-Russia trap". Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Jack Bryan Wiki: Facts about Active Measures' Filmmaker". August 4, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  4. ^ Mitrokhin, Vasili; Andrew, Christopher (2000). The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West. Penguin. ISBN 978-0140284874.
  5. ^ "Peter Davis' Status Update: Jack's the List Man". September 30, 2008. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  6. ^ "Siberia Bar Documentary Brings Back Media Memories - Party Photos - Vulture". Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  7. ^ Roston, Tom. "Is This the Documentary That Can Take Down Trump?". Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  8. ^ "March 21, 2015 - Making and Distributing the Independent Film - Atlanta Cutters". Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  9. ^ Morfoot, Addie (April 30, 2018). "Filmmakers of 'Active Measures' Documentary Assert Donald Trump Has Been Putin's Puppet for Decades". Retrieved September 24, 2018. Bryan: We started the day after James Comey was fired in May 2017 until September 2017.
  10. ^ "Trump's Russian Laundromat". Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  11. ^ "Married to the Mob: Investigative Journalist Craig Unger on What Trump Owes the Russian Mafia". Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  12. ^ BBC Newsnight (March 4, 2016). "Donald Trump's business links to the mob". Retrieved August 19, 2018 – via YouTube.
  13. ^ "The Russian mob first 'made its move' on Trump when he was hemorrhaging money in 2002: Documentary filmmaker". August 2, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  14. ^ "Active Measures director says Trump's Russian mob ties are his biggest legal vulnerability - CBC Radio". Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  15. ^ "Super LTD Acquires ACTIVE MEASURES, Film Reveals Putin's Long Game With Trump". Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  16. ^ Super LTD (August 2, 2018). "ACTIVE MEASURES [Theatrical Trailer] In Theaters August 31". Retrieved August 19, 2018 – via YouTube.
  17. ^ McNary, Dave (August 2, 2018). "Trump-Putin Documentary 'Active Measures' Sets August Release". Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  18. ^ a b "'Active Measures': Film Review - Hot Docs 2018". Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  19. ^ "ACTIVE MEASURES Info & Tickets - Landmark Theatres Washington D.C." Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  20. ^ Active Measures on Twitter
  21. ^ "Active Measures". iTunes. August 31, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  22. ^ "Active Measures". Hulu. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  23. ^ "Active Measures". Vudu. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  24. ^ "Active Measures". FandangoNOW. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  25. ^ "Active Measures". Google Play. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  26. ^ "Active Measures". Amazon. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  27. ^ "'Active Measures' Film Review: How Putin's Tactics Stole Russia, and How They're Corrupting the USA". April 30, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  28. ^ Bramesco, Charles (May 1, 2018). "Active Measures review – middling doc on Russian election meddling". the Guardian. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  29. ^ "22 movies to watch at Hot Docs". Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  30. ^ Johnson, Ted (September 3, 2018). "Listen: Jack Bryan on the Strange Threats Received While Making Russia-Trump Doc 'Active Measures'". Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  31. ^ Hillary Clinton (September 23, 2018). "Hillary Clinton". Twitter. Archived from the original on September 23, 2018. Retrieved September 24, 2018 – via Vladimir Putin has waged a 30-year campaign to disrupt world events, including our last election. I talked about it in @ActMeasuresDoc, a fascinating summation of the Russia story that premieres today:
  32. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (August 25, 2018). "Film Review: 'Active Measures'". Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  33. ^

External links[edit]