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Knock Down the House (2019)

PG | | Documentary | 1 May 2019 (USA)
Trailer
3:02 | Trailer
A look at the people involved with various political campaigns during the 2018 U.S. congressional election.

Director:

Rachel Lears
6 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ... Self - U.S. House Candidate District New York
Cori Bush ... Self - Running for Congress in Missouri's First District
Joe Crowley ... Self - Congressman
Paula Jean Swearengin ... Self - Running for Senate in West Virginia
Amy Vilela ... Self - Running for Congress in Nevada's Fourth District
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Isra Allison ... Self - Brand New Congress
Zoltan Boka Zoltan Boka ... Self - New York State Human Rights Commission
Ruschell Boone ... Self
Saikat Chakrabarti ... Self - Chief of Staff to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Sagar Deshpande ... Self - Brand New Congress
Jozette Figueredo ... Self - Amy's Daughter
Shalynne Figueredo Shalynne Figueredo ... Self - Amy's Daughter (archive footage)
Jo-Ann Floyd-Whitehead ... Self - Community Organizer
Christian Omar Gonzalez Christian Omar Gonzalez ... Self (as Christian Gonzalez)
Darryl Gray ... Self - Civil Rights Veteran (as Rev. Darryl Gray)
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Storyline

Four exceptional women mount grassroots campaigns against powerful incumbents in Knock Down the House, an inspiring look at the 2018 midterm elections that tipped the balance of power. When tragedy struck her family in the middle of the financial crisis, Bronx-born Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had to work double shifts as a bartender to save her home from foreclosure. After losing a loved one to a preventable medical condition, Amy Vilela didn't know what to do with the anger she felt about America's broken health care system. Cori Bush, a registered nurse and pastor, was drawn to the streets when the police shooting of an unarmed black man brought protests and tanks into her neighborhood. A coal miner's daughter, Paula Jean Swearengin was fed up with watching her friends and family suffer from the environmental effects of the coal industry. Written by Netflix

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, language and brief smoking. | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Of the four candidates featured in the film, only Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went on to win her general election race. See more »


Soundtracks

This Land Is Your Land
Words and Music by Woody Guthrie
Performed by Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings
Published by TRO - Ludlow Music, Inc. (BMI)
Courtesy of Daptone Records
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User Reviews

 
Uninspiring Film about an Inspiring Person
3 August 2019 | by truemythmediaSee all my reviews

The largest issue for the film, and as a documentary filmmaker myself I am quite sympathetic, is that there is little footage of anything actually happening and the film has even less of a plot than even the average documentary. As a result, the majority of the film is a typical talking heads documentary with interviews covered by b-roll and a few excursions where they obviously set up a field trip day on which they would run around town with a candidate. I suspect that Occasion-Cortez's campaign was the most accessible since there is considerably more footage of her campaign than the others. The problems with not having more complete coverage are common to documentaries and one of the things that makes them particularly difficult to make and make well.

As a result of this lack of coverage it seems that the crew never blends into the background to the extent that the candidates no longer are so conscious of the camera. As a result you don't really get to see the person behind the candidate, behind the public persona they wear for the cameras and the crowds.

This a big problem, especially for a film about political candidates. Audiences that are already dubious of politicians and the games they play. It makes the entire films seem somewhat like a propaganda exercise.

Another great challenge for a documentary is to present a narrative arc. Real life doesn't arc in the way that stories do. It's one of the things that makes stories appealing but also inherently false feeling. A good story or documentary parcels out information and events in a way that is designed to evoke emotion and create a resonant journey for an audience to experience within a time frame.

"Knock Down the House" has a real problem here. None of the stories have a great arc to them. Each of the stories break down to something simple like, "I realized there was a need for political change, I decided to run, and I lost/won my race." When I say they break down that way, I am being kind. There is literally no tension in this film as to what is going to happen, who is going to win, or the opposition's plans to frustrate the candidates.

This is all not to say that the film doesn't have its moments. There are some great sound bites from the candidates and drop the mic moments that really land. I just can't help getting the feeling that those clips could have just as easily and effectively been used as social media posts or 30 sec pieces for the candidate rather than buried in a 90 min documentary of which only a few minutes are interesting.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 May 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Knock Down the House See more »

Filming Locations:

Kentucky, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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