Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
"The Undefeated" is a documentary about Sarah Palin made by and for the faithful, who may experience it in the way believers sit through a rather boring church service. At nearly two hours, it's a campaign advertisement in search of a campaign.But that's not surprising. What astonished me is that the primary targets in the film are conservative Republicans. Yes, there are the usual vague references to liberals and elitists (although I heard the word "Democrat" only twice). But the film's favorite bad guys seem to be in the GOP establishment. Toward the end the right-wing tub-thumper Andrew Breitbart opens up with both barrels on establishment Republicans, and is particularly angry about conservatives in Washington, who he describes as eunuchs.
The film, which has been in scattered release around the country, had its first Chicago screening at noon Saturday at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The filmmaker, Stephen K. Bannon, did a Q&A session afterwards. The screening was sponsored by the Chicago web-based "firebrand humorous conservative" William J. Kelly.
The audience of about 180 was attentive but undemonstrative until more than an hour in, when CNBC's Rick Santelli drew applause for a rerun of his famous rant from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade on Obama's mortgage bailout. Once the ice was broken, the audience applauded from time to time during fiery praise of the Tea Party and Palin speeches. Two audience members in front of me seemed unfamiliar with piracy laws, making no attempt to conceal their cell phones while making a video copy of some scenes.
"The Undefeated" contains no new footage of Sarah Palin, and indeed no new footage at all except for many running testimonials from Palin staff aides and friends, talk host Mark Levin, and the inexplicable Breitbart. The running commentaries, which seem to have been scripted for this film, are all filmed in faded color against a white background, and get repetitious very quickly.