Review by Dan Skip Allen
The American people need to know what the American people need to know. No more, no less. Where is the line that shouldn't be crossed? When the FBI is investigating the Secretary of State, America doesn't need to know. If Russians are hacking the Presidential election by putting erroneous posts on Facebook smearing one of the candidates, America should know. Who is to say what Americans need to know. The head of the FBI should be that person, and in this case, it's James Comey.
If the FBI's finding of Hillary Clinton's innocence caused problems between James Comey and Donald Trump, it's not because Comey and his team did a bad job. It's because Trump is an egomaniac! His people were involved in leaking the info about Hillary, so he tried to deflect the Russian hackers by putting the spotlight on Hillary's emails instead. Hillary haters are everywhere and it's not hard to push an anti-Hillary agenda. Rudy Giuliani is like a flag it blows where the wind blows. He is of course bashing Hillary with inside sources leaking info to him. The FBI is a target of him as well. All of this makes Donald Trump not a fan of Comey or his office.
If Billy Ray, the writer and director, has a leftist leaning agenda in making this miniseries it's quite obvious. He is so thorough in his dialogue and the way the characters in the film, all real people, deliver that dialogue. Names presented when characters appear help speed up the events that start in 2013. Knowing the names of these people helps when they are discussing the details involving these events. Ray knows how to get this story moving and where to pull the strings from the viewers.
Famous people including President of the United States Barack Obama (Kingsley Ben-Adir), James Comey (Jeff Daniels), Donald Trump (Brendon Gleason), and Sally Yates (Holly Hunter) are the main focus of the miniseries, but great performances are littered throughout. Great character actors Scoot McNairy, Michael Kelly, Jennifer Ehle, Brian D'arcy James, William Sadler all do incredible work. In a miniseries such as this, it's even more important for the performances to be that much more authentic.
Ray really gets to the bottom of this story and that's the thing that makes this two-part story that much more effective. When a filmmaker tells a story that the viewer can get behind it make for a more entertaining film or in this case miniseries. Showtime and HBO have had the platform to tell these types of political stories in the past. This was a perfect platform for Ray to tell this important story in his way. No matter the outcome of the 2016 election, the story had to be told the right way and Ray did just that. He got inside every nook and cranny of this story.
Jeff Daniels has had a great career up until this point in his life. Sure he's played Harry Dunne twice in his career, but it's all the other characters he's played that have him at the top of his game. He was great as Will McAvoy in The Newsroom, and as John Sculley, Daniels had great partners to work with in Steve Jobs, and as Teddy Saunders in The Martian, Matt Damon had a guardian angel. All of these roles gave Daniels the kind of dialogue he can really absorb and digest, which is like a symphony to the ears at times.
Brendon Gleason is a well-known Irish actor. Always playing the tough guy even if he's kidnapped as in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. But sometimes gets softer roles as in Calvary. He can also do some comedy when he teamed with Colin Farrell in In Bruges. He's respected throughout the industry, but the role of playing Donald Trump is a donating task for anybody. He knocks it out of the park as this egotistical man. The man who we all know as the President of the United States.
If The Comey Rule says one thing that is movies and television must tell these stories. Ray knew that and so did Showtime. This story had to be told and released right now. This country needs to be able to see this story told the way Ray told this story. He told it with a fine-tooth comb so every detail was right there on the screen. Those backroom conversations and boardrooms are presented for all Americans to see.
The Comey Rule is now streaming on Showtime.