In a world of increasing political extremes, there is no place for centre politics anymore. Social media has only made the situation worse, with growing bubbles formed between those on the left and those on the right. Whether it be the bitter mud slinging between the Republicans and Democrats or even those on the side of Remain VS Leave in the UK, current politics are thriving on this heady cocktail of rage and distrust.
Back in 2016, Donald Trump shocked the world by becoming the 45th President of the United States. Promising to “Make America Great Again”, this hugely divisive character was helped somewhat by the criminal investigation into Hilary Clinton’s emails. Or, as those within The Comey Rule say, “throwing Trump a soft ball.” As whispers of Russian interference grew, so too did the insatiable need for big changes within America’s political system. This was promised by the star of The Apprentice, eventually taking up the most powerful seat in America today.
I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know a lot about American politics. I do watch Election Night live and glance at snippets of news through the year but I won’t sit here and pretend to know everything that’s going on in America. With that in mind, as a neutral (and a self-proclaimed centre-wing politic supporter) The Comey Rule is a fascinating 2-part biopic that aims to shed light on what happened leading up to the 2016 Presidential elections.
The series itself is based on the book ‘A Higher Loyalty’, which former FBI director James Comey wrote. Interestingly, this story also places Comey himself as the protagonist which will undoubtedly be pointed at by those against what’s showcased within this show.
It’ll be shame to write this off based on that assumption though as The Comey Rule is pretty balanced in its approach. This engaging slow-burn thriller is essentially split into two feature-length parts that look at both the Democrats and Republicans through a neutral lens.
The first part clocks in at around 90 minutes or so and primarily focuses on Hillary Clinton’s emails. Alongside this is the growing threat of the Republicans looming on the horizon, capitalizing on this big scandal. This eventually ends with Election Night before part 2 tackles those early days of Trump in power. This is entangled further by an investigation into Russian interference and some very tense scenes between Comey and Trump that are easily the highlight of the entire show.
Immediately there’s going to be parallels here between The Comey Rule and The Social Network in terms of scene composition and tone. A lot of the material revolves around board meetings and character-driven encounters. Thankfully the camera is never static during these moments, keeping up a feeling of momentum with multiple rotating shots, a moody atmospheric score and plenty of well written dialogue.
To back this up, Showtime have done an incredible job assembling the perfect team to take on this challenge. Brendan Gleeson is incredible as Donald Trump too, producing a scarily accurate recreation of this man. Jeff Daniels does well as Comey too but the supporting cast all completely knock this out the park and deserve to be commended.
Holly Hunter, Michael Kelly and Jonathan Banks (who people will recognize as Mike from Breaking Bad) really command the screen and add to the star power oozing through this drama. And it’s ultimately the acting that saves this one during the slower or more questionable portions of the story. For example, Comey is always the hero and painted as the victim but yet I’m sure there’s a bit of grey area here that’s not really explored or touched on. Again, this brings back the point about this being written by the same man front and centre of the biopic which will undoubtedly raise questions about the validity of his character.
While the first part is a little slow and sometimes gets lost in a lot of back-and-forth scenes between years, part 2 is where this absolutely shines. When Donald Trump fully enters the scene, The Comey Rule really comes into its own. The release of this is a little questionable (several months before the election no less), and that will undoubtedly ruffle some feathers. As a contemporary and important look at our political landscape right now, The Comey Rule is definitely worth a watch regardless of your political affiliation.