Sarah Palin, whilst internationally renowned for her questionable remarks and even more questionable politics is a figure that has been satirised to saturation. We’ve all laughed at Tina Fey’s impression of her and we’ve all mocked her version of foreign policies (I can see Russia from my house!) but what Broomfield attempts to do in Sarah Palin: You Betcha! is add more fuel to the fire. He, unfortunately, never quite manages to get the fire burning as bright as it once was.
In his latest documentary Broomfield actually travels across the world to dish out the dirt on Sarah Palin. Going from her hometown in Alaska to the Middle East in order to interview and question anyone who has ever been close to the iconic figure.
You’ve got to compliment Broomfield. Whilst a Sarah Palin documentary is hardly the most challenging piece of filmmaking, Broomfield never allows it to sink into the depths of political dullness. He always involves himself with the footage and gets himself knee deep in the political fray; chasing after potential interviewees and asking the questions we want to hear. To put it bluntly, no matter which angle you approach Sarah Palin: You Betcha! at, it will always be an entertaining documentary, even if it isn’t as insightful as it should be.
In regards to the last sentence the main issue with Broomfield’s new documentary is that it never gives us a new reason to dislike Palin, just more of the stuff we know. In fact, you could essentially go on BBC News and read a couple of articles on Sarah Palin and save yourself the near 100 minute run time; even though you wouldn’t have half the fun. Broomfield arguably makes the mistake of not striving for new material. Even the “new dirt” he attempts to uncover during the course of the documentary is already common knowledge. If Broomfield had spent a bit more time really digging up the dirt on Sarah Palin herself, this would have escalated the film into quite the documentary.
As it stands, the documentary isn’t essential or compulsive viewing. It feels more like a mild shot of political caffeine to the mind. It doesn’t shock or enlighten but it does get you thinking. Broomfield never allows this to transcend to anything above an average Channel 4 documentary. But, if you’re really not a fan of Palin, You Betcha! will satisfy.
Review by LiveWire Young Film Critic, Jay Crosbie (November ’11)