How Arnold Won the West
Arnold Won The West centres on the recall election of 2003 that saw
Arnold Schwarzenegger take the office of Governor of California from
then Governor Gray Davis. It is fascinating to watch the election
unfold; quickly becoming a circus filled with quirky colourful
characters from porn stars to former child actors.
Almost from day one the election is depicted as a farce. Arnold and his
advisors are true showmen, especially when juxtaposed with the pathetic
campaign of Gray Davis and only viable female candidate Arianna
Huffington. The quiet restraint of all the other campaigns only serves
to show how extravagant and over the top Arnold’s own campaign is;
complete with screaming crowds and an entourage of Arnold buses (each
named after one of his films no less). The “Who Wants to be Governor of
California” game show only furthers the idea that the entire election
was nothing more than democracy gone wrong - especially when show
against footage of Arnold’s participation in the “real” debate – where
he uses movie persona to dismiss Huffington instead of answering actual
The role of the media in the campaign is interesting, many incidents of
newspaper reporters requesting a one on one interview with Arnold fall
of on deaf ears – he prefers to use television to further his campaign.
With television Arnold is able to rely on his movie persona and presence
to get attention, not having to worry about his political views and
policies. Arnold is everywhere with Gray Davis represented as perhaps
the most boring man around. Indeed Sharon Davis, Gray’s wife, has to
introduce herself to people, they have no idea who she is; everyone
knows who Arnold is.
There is an obvious bias present in the documentary, to the detriment of
the film as a whole. Godfather theme music plays whenever the “viper
king” Darrell Issa is shown on screen, linking him to shady dealings
through the association with a recognizable theme for organized crime.
Documentaries are meant to be impartial, to allow viewers to make up
their own minds; unfortunately How Arnold Won the West makes your mind
up for you – even if it does so entertainingly.