Magazine article Variety

Trumped: Inside the Greatest Political Upset of All Time

Magazine article Variety

Trumped: Inside the Greatest Political Upset of All Time

Article excerpt

Trumped: Inside the Greatest Political Upset of All Time

Directors: Ted Bourne, Mary Robertson, Banks Tarver

With: Donald Trump

If Hillary Clinton had won the election, "Trumped: Inside the Greatest Political Upset of All Time" would never have existed. The movie, pieced together in record time, is a sharp, fun, disquieting, and fleetly edited chronicle of the entire campaign year, inside and outside the media bubble, with the focus held obsessively on Donald Trump's rise.

The film's directors drew on thousands of hours of footage shot for the weekly Showtime documentary series "The Circus," which followed the acerbic pundit-reporters John Heilemann, Mark Halperin, and Mark McKinnon on the campaign trail, getting up close to the action, sometimes in a way that only cinema vérité filmmakers used to be able to do, and unleashing their incisive commentary. In "Trumped," the focus is almost exclusively on the Trump campaign, and it includes a couple of angles we haven't seen before. But mostly the film reassembles a great many things that we have seen. So why would anyone want to sit through any of this again?

For politics junkies, there's a twitchy and morbid mediaworld fascination to seeing a replay of Trump's greatest hits (his ride down the escalator at Trump Tower to announce his candidacy; the mocking of John McCain, Megyn Kelly, and Serge F. Kovaleski; the first time he promised to build that wall). But the real reason to watch "Trumped" takes the form of a question: On the campaign trail, where his candidacy was rarely taken seriously by the mainstream media (until it was), and where a great many people believed that he could never win (until he did), does Trump look different in 20-20 hindsight?

In one important way he does: When you watch "Trumped," there's an eerie and inescapable sense, from early on in the campaign, that Trump knew he was going to win. …

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