This is a fly-on-the-wall documentary that follows Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign fromDemocratic primaries to the White House. This piece also made stars of sorts out of campaignmanage James Carville and communications director George Stephanopoulos, with the formerbeing an especially larger-than-life character. There is no narration, and pretty good knowledgeof how the American political system works is helpful, not to mention a sharp memory of thecon…roversies that plagued Clinton then (as opposed to later). Thus, the first crisis the team needsto deal with is Gennifer Flowers. It’s all pretty compelling stuff for political junkies, but I can’thelp but wonder if there isn’t something very ephemeral about the film too, and that it willincreasingly need footnotes with each passing year.
The 2.0 sound is decent, and one can’t expect much from shot-on-video documentaries (asI’ve said before, sound design is completely beside the point here). There are, however, someunfortunate slips that seem like transfer mistakes, such as moments where a speaker’s voice goesinto full surround.
So much of the footage here comes from TV news and other sources, and the nature of theproduction means that the picture quality is raw, and necessarily so. What is odd, however, isthat the picture has, apparently, been reformatted into fullscreen (I say odd, since most of theincorporated footage would have been fullscreen to start with). Nonetheless, if reformatting didoccur, this is regrettable.
The only extra (other than a trailer for The Motorcycle Diaries) is a 5-minuteintroduction/reminiscence by directors Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker. More would havebeen nice, but they cover (briefly) some of the material that no-doubt would have been coveredby a commentary. The menu is basic.
Interesting stuff, and its release is timely given that, as of this writing, the Americanpresidential campaign is in full swing.
Special Features List
- Introduction by Filmmakers
- Bonus Trailer