Despite having access to not only Obama’s staff, but also the man himself, this documentary exposes has none of the drama and scandal we’ve learnt to expect from the American political system.
The first of four episodes providing an insider’s look into the home of the most powerful man in the world aired on the 15th March and chronologically documented the first 100 days of Obama’s administration, supposedly the most significant time of American presidencies. It featured interviews with the powerful men within the administration, giving their perspective on the events of the first 100 days. The remainder of the series is set to explore Obamacare and other pivotal aspects of Obama’s presidency.
The interviews and content were interesting, covering the important events, issues and successes of Obama’s first 100 days, and for anyone with an interest in politics it was a must-watch. The filmmakers’ access to the people that helped shape the direction of the administration was impressive and offered a genuinely unique perspective. However, due to the calibre of interviewees, the content of their interviews was often complicated and contained a lot of political jargon that was largely unexplained. This made the programme not only hard to follow, but also slightly dull at times.
Perhaps because as viewers we’re used to the dark realm of House of Cards’ Frank Underwood as a representative of the American political world, this documentary’s portrayal of the Obama administration is disappointingly vanilla. Manipulation, ruthlessness and clandestine power plays are all missing, and whilst this makes for a very reliable and realistic portrayal of politics, we can’t help but be desperate for something more. The most scandalous statement comes from Axelrod, Senior Advisor to the President, when he implies that Obama swore at him but refuses to repeat the word. It’s not exactly sensational stuff. Furthermore, the documentary attempts to appear to have more access than it does. Whilst the interviews delve into the opinions of the more powerful figures inside the White House, the footage used to split them up is evidently lifted from news footage. As a result, this documentary doesn’t feel as if it’s genuinely inside Obama’s White House, simply a string of interviews with those who are.