Another great US Politics double-whammy: two films that are perfect to watch together back-to-back. Sarah Palin was the story of the 2008 Presidential campaign. Eclipsing even Barack Obama’s star power, the homespun, out-of-nowhere Governor of Alaska massively re-energised John McCain’s ailing and let’s face it up til then pretty lame effort, momentarily derailing the smooth and well-oiled Obama narrative and threatening to create an upset of seismic proportions.
It’s truly fascinating to see what happened next, as an onslaught of media accusations and negative publicity followed to discredit this unexpected upstart. Even today it’s hard to see through the partizan haze to the real truth of the situation and of Palin’s basic character and credentials as a Stateswoman. That’s part of the attraction of watching these two films, one a slickly-produced movie essentially from the shocked Washington insider perspective, the other a low-budget stalking doco by veteran film-maker and serial pest the intrepid Nick Broomfield, who goes where beltway reporters fear to tread – Palin’s tiny hometown of Wasilla, Alaska – to interview friends and neighbours in the hopes of getting them to dish the dirt behind the dramatic runaway political success story.
Who’s right? Is Palin ‘the next Ronald Reagan’, or a spoiled beauty queen with skeletons in the closet, enmired in hundreds of feuds and obsessed with ‘loyalty’? You be the judge!