THE WAR ROOM
The Ragin’ Cajun James Carville and pretty boy George Stephanopoulos rally to win then-Governor Clinton the presidency in this unprecedented doc from the late D. A. Pennebaker.
Before social media offered personal access, albeit mostly PR-approved, to every electoral hopeful under the sun, D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus’s The War Room introduced millions to the greasy cogs of the political machine. What was originally planned to be a general man-behind-the-curtain look at then underdog Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton evolved into a character study of the two men feeding the fire. The southern charm of campaign Lead Strategist James Carville and earnestness of Communications Director George Stephanopoulos offered often-polarizing doctrines and strategies to win what was thought of as a losing race. Yet a New Hampshire primary second-place finish jump-started a legendary campaign filled with well-documented scandals and dramatic gaffes. As victory dangled in front of them like a carrot, Carville and Stephanopoulos emerged as unlikely heroes and celluloid documentary legends. Although the late Pennebaker gifted the world with influential rock docs like Monterey Pop and Don’t Look Back, it is The War Room that has become not only an insightful capturing of a moment in time, but also a possible road map of where we go from here.
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