Tuesday 9 December 2008

The War Room (1993) - ickleReview (HD)

Cinéma vérité/fly-on-the-wall documentary about the campaign team of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential election. James Carville is the charismatic lead strategist from New Orleans known as the "Ragin' Cajun". He really seems to have fun in the "war room", the campaign headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas. George Stephanopoulos is the younger, smooth communications director. The film focuses largely on these two characters from the New Hampshire primary through to Clinton's acceptance speech. There is no voice-over, no inter-titles, no interviews; just a camera in the room while these political strategists go to work, first to overcome Clinton's Democratic rivals, then to campaign against the incumbent Republican president, George Bush, and the independent candidate, Ross Perot. The lack of commentary is admirable and intelligent. The viewers are left to make their own conclusions, aided of course by the subtle editing.

Clinton is featured, but Carville and Stephanopoulos really are the stars of the show. Jennifer Flowers makes an appearance, prompted by the Republicans, to make allegations that she had an affair with Clinton. Clinton and his team deal with it with remarkable skill. There are also shots of Hillary and Chelsea Clinton. Hillary has remarkably long hair and looks disturbingly a lot like Jennifer Flowers. No wonder she eventually cut it short.

Nugget: a brilliant insight into the excitement and tactics of political campaigning.

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