61st BFI London Film Festival: The Final Year Review
The look into what the office of the President looks like day-to-day in Washington DC could be most valuable in 4... or 8 years
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Living in the Trump Presidency seems scary. It feels like this era has lasted for years, yet it’s not even been a year since Donald Trump assumed office. At the BFI London Film Festival, Greg Barker follows President Obama’s foreign policy year for The Final Year.
Boasting a highly influential cast: Ben Rhodes (Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications aka Obama’s Speechwriter), Samantha Power (US Ambassador to the UN), John Kerry (Secretary of State) and Susan Rice (National Security Advisor) alongside President Obama himself, Barker successfully counts down the final year of Obama’s Presidency – showing what was actually happening behind the scenes whilst the team were attempting to make their final big breakthroughs before the Presidency ended.
The documentary is inspiring and – whilst being very biased – does give an accurate look into what life must be like with that level of power. There are very few instances where the Presidency is seen as being “flawed”. Whilst these staffers are undeniably heroes to many worldwide, the film only lends a few moments to incidents such as Ben Rhodes’ controversy, when he said that all journalists of the White House Press Core “know nothing”.
Another bum note of the film is how it seems to systematically ignore the looming doom of Trump’s Presidency. Whilst there are a couple of scenes on the night of the election, and the thoughts thereafter, before then it fails to properly address the White House’s thoughts and feelings about what may be about to come.
Whilst looking back isn’t always helpful, The Final Year shows what better days, with a properly functioning White House, looks like – perhaps a set-up replicated by the next President?
Despite the obvious bias and missing key news events – it is a believable look into what the office of the President looks like day-to-day in Washington DC; it’s that insight which may perhaps be most valuable in 4… or 8 years.
3 STARS (out of 5)