The Last Campaign

"Very Good"

The Last Campaign Review


Not many documentarians aside from Michael Apted get an opportunity like this. In 1972, Wayne Ewing made a documentary (If Elected...) about an upstart state senator from West Virginia named Warren McGraw, who was running for the first time for elected office. The southern firecracker never missed an opportunity to spew vitriol, and McGraw dutifully captured his angst and emotion as he scraped out a victory.

In 2004, Ewing caught up with McGraw again. Now a justice in the state Supreme Court, McGraw found himself besieged by Republican attack ads, funded by big money to the tune of several million dollars. McGraw could barely keep up, kept his campaign as positive as possible, but ultimately didn't pull through. Ewing captures the same set of events -- the primary (which he wins) and the election (which he loses), and shows us exactly how modern politics has changed over the last 30 years, entirely for the worse.

Older and tired, McGraw states that win or lose, this is his last campaign. It's easy to see why. He's surrounded by well-meaning family and friends, but no one can stem the crush of negative campaigning that assaults him at every turn. (In this particular election, more money was allegedly spent than in any other judiciary election in American history.) Everything comes to a head when a particular case that McGraw was involved in -- involving a young boy who molested even younger children -- was set free from prison. It appears to be the singular event that kills McGraw's hopes for victory, and yet both sides appear to contort and exaggerate the details of the case. (And yes, even I am too lazy to look it up myself.)

Ewing's film is insightful and unique, cutting between the present and excerpts from his 1972 movie to show us how things have changed. Sometimes it's hard to believe that these are the same person. What isn't hard to believe is how unbearable politics has become, and how demoralizing the whole process is. Ewing captures this all with aplomb -- though numerous crowd scenes are nearly inaudible and the film lacks substantial background needed to get a non-West Virginian up to speed. But perhaps best of all is the way The Last Campaign serves as a bookend, chronicling for the end of one man's career.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 17th April 2013

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.