The Final Year

How wistful it is to look back on Barack Obama’s last 12 months in the White House with Greg Barker’s all-access documentary which shadows the Obama team as he tries to assure his legacy around the world.

They’re here there and everywhere trying to sort out Iran, Syria, climate change, and everything. They hardly spend a moment at home and if they do it’s in the UN where the amazing Samantha Power comes in to her own with her diplomacy against the mass ranks of international baddies.

The Trump thing rumbles like a bad joke on various TV screens as the end of the road approaches and then that election night happens leaving them all distraught – not that we’ve seen any of them do much to ensure that Hillary follows them in. Maybe the film’s saying, quietly, that Obama spent so much time on foreign policy and assuring America is seen as the good guy in the eyes of the world that he forgot what it looked like back home? Barker’s admiration is clear, but so is his dispassionate observation as a documentary film maker.

Either way, Obama is his usual charming, sensible, thoughtful, Presidential self  – not flawless, it should be said – and it’s shocking to realise how much that’s changed in those West Wing offices in the 12 months since the end of this revealing, fascinating if ultimately dismaying documentary about the fragile corridors of global power.

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