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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Politics > Election > Presidency > History > By The People – The Election Of Barack Obama (2009/Sony DVD)

By The People – The Election Of Barack Obama (2009/Sony DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Documentary: B



Like him or not, Barack Obama’s election is more than historic, it is remarkable that things were so bad than a first term senator with new ideas and a new direction was able to effectively run well enough for President that he could win by a landslide.  If you did not live though it, you would find it hard to believe for good reason all that happened.  However, Directors Amy Rice and Alicia Sams decided to start a documentary about him long before 2006 and little did they know what they were in for.  All that taping has resulted in a key documentary entitled By The People – The Election Of Barack Obama (2009) that shows it all.


Originally aired on HBO, the focus begins with the young senator having his own early success and making some interesting observations even then.  As the very early wrangling among the two political parties for 2008 started, Obama saw an opportunity to possibly run for the office at a time when most people did not think a black president would ever be a reality.  With that said, The Republicans were barely in the White House with two near wins for George W. Bush and as things were going worse and worse, a large group was intending to run for the Democrats and one-time First Lady and now Senator Hillary Clinton was the assumed front runner.


Turns out she was so sure she was that she did not go into full action to secure her position early.  Besides attacks from others in her party (Bill Richardson noted that she was going around as if she had already received the nomination), Obama saw an opening and took it.  The nearly two-hours here go from the beginnings to the primaries to Obama versus the Republicans and the far Right.  At that point, the shift is the one people are still seeing, which includes remarkably racist attacks, stupid claims that had nothing to do with facts or reality and the infatuation with Sarah Palin as part of the John McCain ticket (and political stunt that backfired) that helped cause a further spilt within the already troubled Republicans.


The rest is history and when all is said and done, you see the catastrophe that was avoided by the American Electorate begin awakened out of a deep sleep and overthrowing Neo-Conservatism in record numbers after about three decades of abuse.  Things may not have worked out as well as those who voted Obama in had expected, but he is still dealing with the mess left by that abuse.  But the main focus is the man and his actions.  We also get to meet his campaign team in depth and this all adds up to one of the most interesting political documentaries of the last few years.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is a mix of HD footage and analog tape still being used more often at the time of this program’s start date.  With that said, it can be soft, but is also clean and well-edited.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is not bad for a talk-based program with the occasional location audio flaw and simple stereo audio of some clips means we do not get much of a soundfield.  Extras include a feature-length audio commentary, 10 Bonus Scenes, a making-of featurette and DVD-ROM link to more.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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