Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Directed by: #ToddDrezner
Film Review by #ChrisBuick
On November 8th 2016, in what might be one of the greatest political upsets in American history, a man by the name of Donald John Trump became the forty-fifth president of the United States, leaving many all over world asking one question...
One such person was New York City #filmmaker and “committed liberal” Todd Drezner. Astounded as many were by Trump’s victory, Drezner wanted (perhaps needed) to understand not just how but why. It appears he found his answer in the most unlikely of individuals, an unemployed coal miner and Christian conservative by the name of Bo Copley.
A blue-collar West Virginian man, married with two children and God in is heart, at first Bo Copley seems about as ordinary as one man can really get. However, Bo catapulted himself into the public eye during a publicity round-table with Hillary Clinton, where he called out the former first lady regarding her comments seemingly advocating the cutting of jobs in the coal industry, a massive faux-pas in a state where coal-mining is so rooted in its tradition its even on their state flag.
But it was the fact that not only was he able to get his point across so strongly and concisely, but that he did so with the utmost respect and dignity (something rarely seen in politics anywhere let alone the U.S.), that drew Drezner to Bo Copley and led him to document Bo’s unique run for the 2018 Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in West Virginia in his latest outing, The Campaign of Miner Bo.
A firm liberal making a #documentary about a staunch conservative might raise the eyebrows of those maybe expecting parody or obvious bias, but Drezner isn’t the least bit interested in any liberal versus conservative debate. He doesn’t care whether your political affiliations align with those of his subject. The point of The Campaign of Miner Bo is to shine the light on a greater universal truth; that there is something fundamentally flawed with the U.S. political system. Bo is a man tired of people always being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils and is simply looking to give his fellow West Virginians a different option, a sentiment clearly echoed by those who chose Trump perhaps because they were simply desperate for change to a system they felt had failed them too often for too long.
And The Campaign of Miner Bo is certainly revealing in that aspect. It doesn’t matter that his opponents are a veritable rogues’ gallery of problematic characters (one was even responsible for the death of twenty-nine people), they all have better credentials than he does. Bo, driven by what he believes to be God's will, is also unwilling to play dirty, talk shit, or compromise his values in any way, so with almost no money, donations or connections, it’s a battle up the steepest hill from the outset, which makes this fascinating film equal parts inspiring, frustrating and saddening.
You can call it an underdog story, you can call it a fish-out-of-water story, you can even call it a David vs. Goliath story, but what Drezner has really set out to create here is a damning indictment of U.S. politics, where money so often speaks louder than words, and I believe he has done a fantastic job in doing so.
Watch the trailer here: