Provocative but also infuriating, this alarmist documentary argues that the levying of a federal income tax in 1913 was unconstitutional and set America on the road to fascism. Filmmaker Aaron Russo (Bette Midler's former manager and the producer of Trading Places) shows no interest in the social, cultural, medical, or educational benefits of the income tax, or in the world outside the U.S., which he seems to regard as tainted by communism in the past and the international banking community in the present. He lacks the humor and polemical skill of Michael Moore as he ambushes some of his interview subjects, and he uses far too many intertitles and epigraphs. But his crude agitprop clearly identifies the threat to civil liberties posed by the Patriot Act, electronic voting, national ID cards, and implanted microchips, and his sense of urgency is contagious. 105 min.
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