The War Room (1994)

"When I think of an old calendar, I think of George Bushe's face." -
James Carville on change

THE WAR ROOM is a fun, little documentary about the Bill Clinton
presidential campaign. But don't expect to see much of "Bubba" here--
he's as scarce as a leftover French fry in the White House. The REAL
stars of THE WAR ROOM are communications director George Stephanopoulos
and chief strategiest James Carville.  And, as this film suggests, both
are just as powerful as the President-To-Be.

THE WAR ROOM goes behind-the-scenes to show who REALLY controls a
political campaign. Though it's the candidates who get the attention,
it's people like Carville who spend hours thinking up the "sound bites"
and the "catch phrases." And it's a process that's both mesmerizing and
funny to watch.

One of the best bits eavesdrops on a seemingly absurd discussion about
"sign size" and how Jerry Brown has bigger letters than they do!

Forget real-life cartoons Dan Quayle and Ross Perot; James Carville is
the fun one to watch here. He's an instant scene-stealer who burns with
such hatred for George Bush that his features involuntarily crimp every
time he hears someone say "read my lips."

Stephanopoulos is rather bland. But his cautious tone and boyish
features make the perfect contrast to the wired and wily Carville. The
odd couple is backed by a diverse supporting cast including Hillary,
Bill, and a dry-humored Mary Matalin. And listen for a great Al Gore

THE WAR ROOM only drags at the end.  As the film approaches Election
Day, everything seems to slow to half-speed. The last thirty-minutes are
tough-- especially with the outcome already known. But a sincere speech
from Carville helps end everything on a high note.

BOTTOM LINE:  A funny behind-the-scenes look at Bill Clinton's
presidential campaign.  Worth watching for the wide-open,
this-is-really-him performance of James Carville.

Grade: B

Copyright 1994 by Michael J. Legeros

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