Saturday, January 12, 2008

Quick Movie Review: The War Room (1993)

I don't know how many of you out there follow elections and politics, like me, but there is a great documentary about Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign. It focuses primarily on Clinton's campaign strategists, James Carville and George Stephanopoulos. Entitled, "The War Room," named after Clinton's legendary campaign center in Little Rock, Arkansas, director D.A. Pennebaker guides the viewer through Clinton's unexpected 2nd place upset in New Hampshire, his victory in securing the Democratic nomination, and eventually his successful bid to become the 42nd President of the United States of America.

Nominated for an academy award for best documentary, the War Room is a great look at how a presidential campaigns is run. While the movie is over a decade old, from my experience, this is what most campaigns are like. They are fairly disorganized, you work long (and unpaid) hours, meet great people, travel to a lot of interesting places, and are a hell of a lot of fun. The focus of the film isn't to discuss large, overarching strategy, but rather the documentary keys in on everyday decision making: how to address the press, how to rally the campaign volunteers, etc. It is this focus on the small, ordinary details of a campaign that separates the movie from a normal "CNN special" and gives the film it's charm and humanism.

Here is the trailer. It's a bit cheesy, but still good.

With the upcoming elections, this is an excellent film to help the casual political observer take a step back from the daily barrage of newspaper articles and polls in order to get a feel for what campaigns are really about: the people.

No comments: