Ed. Note: “The Undefeated begins its theatrical run today. You can find theatres and purchase tickets here (I also urge you to bookmark the indispensable site, Conservatives for Palin). An interview with writer/director Steve Bannon can be heard at the end of this review. — JN
It’s been almost three years since I, along with many others, was introduced to Governor Sarah Palin. In that time we have been saturated with coverage of her and just about everybody on the left and the right, has had the opportunity to get to know who she is and what they think of her.
At least that’s what I thought.
Admittedly, it took me some time to actually post this review of the recently released film “The Undefeated” about Sarah Palin’s meteoric rise to fame. It took time because, for numerous reasons, Sarah Palin is an emotional topic for a lot of people.
She seems to be one of those national figures that you either love with adoring affection, or hate with an uncontrollable rage. Rarely have I met someone who simply doesn’t have an opinion of her. Many pretend to, but most you can see through. At least I can. I can see through it because my opinion of her was much more specific than I ever liked to admit.
Certainly I believed that the media had been incredibly unkind to her. I believed that her stepping down as Governor was more the loss of an intense battle than simply the “giving up to go get rich” that others had labeled it. But in truth, I didn’t too much care for her, in spite of my public facade of being mostly opinion free.’
I didn’t think she’d really done much in Alaska, or if she had, that it was enough to act like she was the second coming of Reagan. I thought that her contributions when being interviewed were bubble-gum and lacking of any real substance. I would never finish hearing a story about her and think, “Wow, I never thought of that before.” I just didn’t see that she had that much to offer.
There was so much media coverage of Palin, and so many people that were incredibly unfair to her, that I had been desensitized. I didn’t realize it, but I had actually developed a sort of immunity to believing anything positive about Sarah Palin. Rush Limbaugh, a personal hero of mine, sang her praises every time her name came up. In spite of that, I still felt no reason to look further into her story.
Rush had actually gotten to the point of making it a personal game to get opinions about Palin from others because he finds the dislike remarkable. I recall that one time, he was marveling that even the conservatives that don’t want her to run for president, still talk about how great they think she is, and it seemed to confuse him. I tried to call in to tell him, “Rush, they’re saying that because they’re afraid of you! They can’t admit they don’t like Palin to you because they know you do like her and you’re the voice of the movement!”
I was absolutely right that this was the case for many people, but the only reason I knew it, was because I was one of them. Hell, if I’d actually gotten through and had the opportunity to say this to him, and he’d asked me my opinion, I’m sure I would’ve acted like she was the cat’s pajamas, just to save face.
Ultimately, I thought she was the type of political force that was going to be around, needed to be treaded on carefully, but would never have anything substantial to offer to the cause of conservatism other than rallying troops which I still believed was a valuable service.
I thought she hadn’t gotten a fair shake in the media, but I felt confident that I could see through the bias and that I understood who she was, what she had done and what my opinion would probably be about her going forward.
I was entirely incorrect.
I consider the director of “The Undefeated”, Stephen Bannon, to be a friend of mine. He’s advised me in my own fledgling productions. I’ve interviewed him a handful of times on my podcast and we always talk for over an hour effortlessly. When I heard he was making this film, I immediately wanted to interview him, but I assumed that everything I knew about Palin would simply be confirmed by watching this.
We popped the film into our DVD player, and sat back to watch. One thing I had no doubts about was that Stephen Bannon would make a visually impressive, compelling film that would stir emotion. I was pleased to see that he used his trademark method of letting the people directly tied to the events tell the story (I often find narration cumbersome) adding their own particular emotions and perspectives to the narrative. These were all things that I expected and Bannon did not disappoint.
The film moves at a breakneck pace while still laying out a level of detail that brings you so close to the events, you feel like you personally experienced them.
Even had the substance not convinced me that I had Mrs. Palin pegged wrong, the film itself would most certainly have scored high for me as my all important test was passed: Did I look at my watch? No I did not.
In short, the execution of this film is excellent.
But what had me and my wife blown away by the time it was over, was the avalanche of information and perspectives that had been hidden from us over the years. As I would like for you to listen to my interview with Steve, I will not get into the substance of what caused the change. I want you to hear it for yourself.
I pride myself on my ability to know when something is baloney, almost instinctively. On Sarah Palin, I was so incredibly hoodwinked that the one word that my wife and I agreed described how we felt after watching it, was shame. Yes of course invigoration, satisfaction and all the other things you experience when watching a good film, but about how we had handled our vetting of Mrs. Palin, shame was the word that best described it.
Shame for not bothering to look up her record. Shame for not reading her story. Shame for turning the channel when she came on the tv. Shame for not listening to people that we had a great deal of respect for like Andrew Breitbart, Tammy Bruce, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
As Breitbart points out in the film, the greatest shame is that while this woman was savaged to degrees you may not even realize yet, some of us sat back and let it happen. For me to buy into the media template and not defend someone who’s only offense was being a conservative, is the absolute antithesis of what I stand for, and something that I shall never allow to happen again.
I urge you to see this film when it hits theaters today. And I urge you to put aside your preconceptions about who this woman is. You don’t have to think she should be the next president to believe that the way she has been presented, even by conservatives, has been completely wrong.
Please listen to my interview with Mr. Bannon — download the audio here.
Then go see the film.
Cross-Posted at Redstate.com