The Inevitable End: Our Review of ‘The Final Year’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, Theatrical, TIFF 2017 by - January 19, 2018
The Inevitable End: Our Review of ‘The Final Year’

In the wake of a regime change and a huge political shift, The Final Year is a gripping and fascinating look at policy makers and career political animals trying to do some genuine good in the world while staring down the actual ends of their lives in office at the exact same time.

From documentarian Greg Barker; The Final Year is a deep dive into the final year of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy team.  With unparalled access tracking members of an outgoing administration as they struggle and strive to make sure that the sacrifices they’ve all made to friends and family while serving in office are worth it all the while with a historical presidential election taking place that none of them could have ever predicted the outcome of.

Part of the real magic of some documentaries which comes part in parcel with being a documentarian is all about being in the right place at the right time.  The Final Year is that kind of slow burn because while it isn’t necessarily about any kind of gotcha moment, we as an audience can see what is coming for all of these dedicated public officials, and in the same way that we love reality TV, we perversely can’t look away from a conclusion that is just devastatingly inevitable.

While on one end, The Final Year is a fascinating look at life in public office with career public servants who basically can see the end of their very professional careers staring them down.  These are good people who want to and believe in the ability to affect some change and do some good in the world.  Barker gives everyone fairly equal weight as they are all counting down the clock towards their ends and it’s like watching this huge piece of machinery very slowly power down but never quite stop in preparation for the next team about to take over.

However on the flip side of the coin, already knowing the end results of the 2006 US Election that blindsided the entire planet, it’s stunning to see it all unfold with our subjects unable to do a thing about it.  It almost plays tragically as whenever anyone is asked about Trump; they treat it like an afterthought because of course Hillary would win.  It’s the ultimate game of “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda” playing out in front of us all.

 For better or worse; The Final Year takes us inside history, while it is still ringing in our ears and it makes for a gripping experience that allows us to appreciate that hard work that goes on while in public office and the quiet desperation to make sure that it doesn’t go to waste.

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David Voigt, has been a lover of cinema all his life and an actual underpaid critic for a solid 5 years covering everything that the city of Toronto has to offer. He was a content manager in video distribution industry before that and his love of all things cinema goes back to his first moments in awe looking up at the big screen. His 12 years of experience on the home entertainment side of the business have provided him with a unique view on what is worth spending your hard earned entertainment dollars on. Combine that with his unquestioned love of film, David should be your only stop to find out about the best in film, not only in Toronto, but worldwide.