HBO’s ‘Running With Beto’ is engaging documentary with unique access

Brooke Sjoberg

In the 2018 midterm elections, one Texan gained supreme star power by campaigning in all of the state’s 254 counties and understanding social media. David Modigliani’s “Running with Beto” is an up-close view of the politician's journey through the state.

The access Modigliani had to create a documentary this different from typical political pieces is absolutely mind blowing. A majority of political film is from the outside looking in, or a supposition of what it must be like on the inside. Rarely do filmmakers get this kind of closeness to their subjects.

The choice to feature Facebook Live footage of O’Rourke and his family in the film is a modern twist on documentary, one which is hopefully repeated by other filmmakers. This footage gives the storyline of the campaign real grit and character, making the subject more relatable and human.

An interesting Easter egg within the film is the camera literally going on a run with O’Rourke. A clever play on words, the film’s name is a double entendre and exemplifies the creative approach of Modigliani to filmmaking and O’Rourke to campaigning.

Featuring O’Rourke’s family is the most unique aspect of the documentary. Few have examined the effect of running for national government on the families of those who spend so much time away from home, as a public figure.

The film is not only impactful, it is visually stunning. Wide, overhead shots of the varied Texas landscapes take the viewer so far along with O’Rourke, to impress upon them the breadth of his campaigning. Conceptualizing traveling Texas in its entirety is not difficult with this help of this film.

“Running With Beto” will hopefully be the first of many in-depth, honest looks at what it means to be a politician in America.

“Running with Beto”

Score: 5/5