Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The Swamp Review: An Unfiltered Look At Money And Politics

Release date: August 4, 2020
Running time: 114 minutes

The Swamp is a behind-the-scenes documentary following members of the rebellious Freedom Caucus as they navigate friends and foes from both parties.  The documentary provides a look behind the curtain of Washington politics by following three renegade Republican Congressmen as they bring libertarian and conservative zeal to champion the President’s call to “drain the swamp,” while facing demands to raise money for their re-election campaigns and the Republican national party.  Directors Daniel DiMauro and Morgan Pehme (“Get Me Roger Stone”) track Republican Congressmen Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Thomas Massie (R-KY), and Ken Buck (R-CO) over the course of a pivotal year in politics, demonstrating the breadth and grip of a system that rewards fundraising above all else, plaguing Congress on both sides of the aisle. With unique behind-the-scenes access to the inner workings of the House of Representatives amid major breaking news events, including the Mueller hearing and President Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings, the film presents a revealing look at the core democratic institution of American government.

When the Swamp says it gives you a behind the scenes look at these politicians, it is not kidding.  The film crew had an amazing amount of access to these three politicians, following them in a variety of scenarios and getting their unfiltered thoughts on certain issues.  It really is an impressive feat to see the level of candor that these reps give.  I believe it was self selecting, as they are members of the Freedom Caucus, one that is known for being outspoken and not playing the normal Washington politics, but it is still an impressive feat.  The film does give you an unfiltered, behind the scenes look at some of areas of politics that most people don't get to see, and it really is enlightening.  The fundraising aspect was highlighted a lot and for good reason; the fact that certain committee members are expected to go out and raise a certain amount of money is a scary proposition and makes you wonder how they are able to gather that much money.

Another thing about the Swamp that I did not anticipate is just how personable a lot of the members of Congress that were followed were.  Whether you agree or disagree with their politics, the members were charismatic and enjoyable to listen to.  In the polarized world of politics today, just seeing people interacting on a day to day basis--outside of the main news cameras and sound bites--was an enlightening thing.  You also get to see their interactions with both sides of the aisle.  With so much anger and vitriol in politics, seeing members of Congress interact in a social setting and seeing that they do in fact like each other was a good reminder of just how much is for the camera.  I don't think that this documentary will restore your faith in politics, but it will definitely broaden your perspective.  And the timing of the filming and some of the events that were chronicled was fortuitous indeed.  The Swamp is overall a good documentary, though I do wish it had followed a democrat or more traditional republican just to give some more perspective.  And the film had this CG Washington, DC becoming a fetid swamp motif (think what's in the poster but a few sequences) that just looked odd.  It seemed like the film was trying to hard to show how corrupt the area is, when the film itself does plenty without needing the added push.  But don't let these dissuade you from checking out this entertaining and enlightening documentary.

The Swamp gives an unfiltered, in depth look into some charismatic Congressmen and the inner workings of Congress during a pivotal time in politics. 

Watch it.

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