THE FINAL YEAR
(director: Greg Barker; cinematographer: Erich Rowland/Martina Radwan; editors: Joshua Altman/Langdon Page; music: Philip Sheppard; cast: Ben Rhodes, Samantha Power, John Kerry, Susan Rice, Barack Obama; Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Julie Goldman, John Battsek, Greg Barker. Executive producers: George Chinell, Nicole Stott, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn; Magnolia Pictures; 2017)
“The President’s team is always shown in a good light no matter what.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A one-sided political film that apologizes for President Obama’s foreign policies, as it never admits to any of his many failures which include the travesty in Syria and the softness of its Iran Nuclear Treaty with a country that supports terrorism and the destruction of America’s ally Israel. The President’s team is always shown in a good light no matter what. If you don’t agree with the President’s politics you will not like the film. I didn’t like this film and deplored how bias it was as merely liberal propaganda. It desperately wants us to believe that what the President’s team did in his final year of office was best for the country because they’re the good guys earnestly working for a diplomatic rather than a military solution. It covers the behind-the-scene movements of the President’s diplomatic efforts over such issues as the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris climate accord, and the normalization of relations with Cuba.Filmmaker Greg Barker (“The Thread”/”Manhunt: The Inside Story of the Hunt for Bin Laden “) and his crew had access to follow around Obama’s foreign policy team during the last 90 days of the administration, as it visits 21 countries. Unfortunately the film ignores the shocking Trump win in 2016, as it offers no explanation why the Obama ideals were rejected by the electorate and fails to note how arrogant and filled with hubris is the President’s team. The Final Year makes no mention of how the Democrats lost their working-class base to a Republican who was not fit for office as an habitual liar, an ignoramus, a vulgarian and a narcissist. The documentary might be fodder for political junkies but for the ordinary viewer it’s a bore, and is not a reliable witness to history because of its political bias and failure to be present with its cameras in places it should have been. Instead it cherry picks what it shows, while dismissing any messages it doesn’t want to relay. Its claims that the world is now a better place because of Obama policies is not borne out by reality. I found it disconcerting to watch Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Ambassador Samantha Power, and speechwriter Ben Rhodes trying to convince us that their attempt to merge “an inclusive global view rooted in common humanity and international order” has made the world a better place. All you have to do is look at the world they left us to dismiss their rosy praise of themselves. A superior behind-the-scenes political film is “The War Room” (1993), which I would recommend over this lesser work.
REVIEWED ON 11/13/2017 GRADE: C https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/