Streaming columnist NICK OVERALL reports on a political series that’s causing controversy among its viewers.
NOT one month out from the US election, a new series called “The Comey Rule”, which looks to re-open conversations about the controversial events of the 2016 election, has just hit the small screen – and such timing is undoubtedly no coincidence.
The two-part miniseries on Stan is based on the book “A Higher Loyalty” by former FBI director James Comey, where he recounts the turbulent investigations into both leading candidates of the 2016 race for president.
Difficult portrayals are not shied away from here.
Jeff Daniels plays the FBI director of the title, chosen no doubt after the performance he gave as a news anchor in politically challenging 2012 series “The Newsroom” (available on Foxtel Group’s Binge).
Michael Kelly plays his deputy, coming over from his fame from another biting and controversial political thriller, “House of Cards” (Netflix).
Rising talent Kingsley Ben-Adir, from “Peaky Blinders”, plays Barack Obama.
And of course, in what will inevitably be whipping up the most conversations, is Brendan Gleeson’s portrayal of Donald Trump. Many may recognise Gleeson from his role as “Mad-Eye” Moody in the “Harry Potter” series, but there’s certainly a defter use of his eccentric talents on display here.
The first episode mainly focuses on the Hillary Clinton email scandal of 2015 and the allegations of using private servers to engage in official government matters.
In episode two, Trump is introduced and the investigation into the possible Russian interference in the election is tackled. How well though? Well – big surprise – the response is pretty divided.
Fascinatingly, much like the current political climate itself, reviews of the series from critics and viewers remain split almost perfectly down the middle. At the time of writing, “The Comey Rule” holds a 5.9/10 on the Internet Movie Database website (or IMDB).
IMDB allows for anyone to find any television series or movie and leave their own review and rank out of 10. The score, which accumulates, in this instance the 5.9, represents the average of all reviews and doesn’t seem like much of a score, right?
Yet analysis of the show’s reviews reveals evidence of the complete polarisation that has caused it, oscillating between 10/10 talking about the brilliance and accuracy of the series, or 1/10s decrying fake news.
“So incredibly timely and needed before the election with some vital truths every American should know before the election. 10/10!” says one user.
“Trump will win the election and you lame Hollywood libtards can’t do a thing about it. Drain the Hollywood swamp! 1/10!” goes another.
“Now I’m not a Trump supporter but, [expletive], this is the most anti-Trump movie based on real ‘facts’ while the guy is still in office. And what are the chances they release this a month from elections? facepalm, 3/10,” another reads.
It’s a fascinating microcosm of the reactions to the US election, both in 2016 and what’s yet to come.
Many reviews also claim the importance of leaving one’s politics at the door when going into the series, but I don’t see how doing so is possible considering the heated subject matter.
But there is something to gain from taking the time to engage with it and discuss it. I have a hunch it will lead many to go and do more of their own research into how accurately the series portrayed the events as they unfolded. I did.
In the meantime, come on Australia we’ve gotta step up our own political thrillers – sure we’ve had the excellent drama “Secret City” (Netflix), but where’s our own slickly produced miniseries (or, you know, single episode) on the ACT elections going on this month, eh?
More of Nick Overall on Twitter @nick_overall