About the Film

Ever get the feeling that assholes are taking over the world?

Bad behaviour is as old as human history, something we all encounter at some point—whether on the playground, in the workplace or in public life. But the phenomenon seems to be amplified in an age of venomous social media and resurgent authoritarian politics.

With rampant narcissism threatening to trash civilization as we know it, the time has come for Assholes: A Theory, an entertaining and oh-so-timely new doc from acclaimed director John Walker.

Built around a lively conversation with philosopher Aaron James, author of the New York Times bestseller of the same name, Assholes: A Theory investigates the breeding grounds of contemporary “asshole culture”—and locates a few hopeful signs of civility in an otherwise rude-’n-nasty universe.

Venturing into a predominantly male domain, Walker moves from the frat clubs of elite colleges to the bratty princedoms of Silicon Valley and bear pits of international finance. Why do entitled assholes thrive in certain environments? What explains their perverse appeal and success? And how do they keep getting elected!

Assholes: A Theory investigates the breeding grounds of contemporary “asshole culture”—and locates a few hopeful signs of civility in an otherwise rude-’n-nasty universe.

Weighing in with pungent commentary are observers like actor John Cleese, referring sweetly to the hedge-fund trade as an “arsehole factory”—echoing law professor Saule Omarova’s tart appraisal of financial services as “a quintessential asshole industry.” While Leslie Miley, one of the few African-Americans to rise through Silicon Valley’s ranks, assesses the damage done by the move-fast-and-break-things mantra, and former police officer Sherry Lee Benson-Podolchuk shatters the clichéd image of the courteous Mountie with Women Not Wanted, her exposé of misogynistic assholery within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Other featured interviews include policy consultant Robert Hockett, who worked for both Occupy Wall Street and the US Federal Reserve in the wake of the 2008 crash; banker Paul Purcell, who has pioneered a novel “no asshole rule” at his company; and Italian LGBTQ activist Vladimir Luxuria, a former parliamentarian who famously locked horns with Silvio Berlusconi, the p***y-grabbing prototype of the 21st-century demagogue.

A FEATURE DOCUMENTARY FROM JOHN WALKER

A JOHN WALKER PRODUCTION IN CO-PRODUCTION WITH THE NATIONAL FILM BOARD OF CANADA IN ASSOCIATION WITH DOCUMENTARY CHANNEL

CINEMATOGRAPHER PAUL MCCURDY EDITOR JEFF WARREN COMPOSER SANDY MOORE SOUND DESIGNER ALEX SALTER ANIMATOR RON MCDOUGALL LOCATION SOUND JIM RILLIE PRODUCERS ANN BERNIER  ANNETTE CLARKE  JOHN WALKER WRITTEN BY JOHN WALKER  ROBERT SANDLER DIRECTED & NARRATED BY JOHN WALKER

A John Walker Production in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada in association with documentary Channel and Canada Media Fund, with the assistance of the Government of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Film & Television Production Incentive Fund, Telefilm Canada and the Rogers Group of Funds, through the Theatrical Documentary Program, Rogers Telefund and The Canadian Film or Video Film Tax Credit