Sarah Palin, You've Been Broomfield'd! You Betcha Is Revelation-Free
Sarah Palin: You Betcha! is Nick Broomfields attempt to, as he puts it, find out about the real Sarah from the people who know her best. Broomfield, perhaps Britains most committed raker of American cultural muck, has long appeared on camera in his documentaries as both investigator and soundman, burnishing an identity as a faux-naive outsider. But his foreign credentials and deceptively lo-fi production methods mask the cunning (and sometimes contempt) behind his benign curiosity. In addition to cementing his doc-star bona fides, his hitsKurt and Courtney (1998) and Biggie and Tupac (2002)also successfully sold the illusion of transparency. By structuring his films as road-trip hunts for slippery subjects, Broomfield manages to cast his own, often highly entertaining manipulations as honesty while spinning any subjects reluctance to submit to his interrogations as de facto admission of guilt. You Betcha!, Broomfields first documentary feature in five years, follows the same MO with diminishing returns. The hunt this time amounts to grievance-airing from a number of disgruntled former friends and colleagues, who mostly trot out grudges related to scandals so old (Troopergate, Palins lack of preparation on the McCain campaign) that even valid-seeming complaints play as unseemly for their staleness. Its structured as a journey toward an interview with Sarah herself, which, of course, never happens, a failure that Broomfield, as usual, tries to sell as a kind of success. But for all the legitimate reasons to jeer Palin, should her rightful wariness of Broomfields camera be one of them?
Get the Film & TV Newsletter
Stay up to date on the best new movies with our critics' latest reviews, interviews and trailers for the films coming to a theater near you each week.