This Place Rules: A surprisingly lighthearted revisit of 2020

In January, the two year anniversary of the January 6th insurrection passed, an event that was widely discussed on the news for days, months and even today as the investigation on that day continues. It was a weird day for many Americans as the political extremism of America has grown to be out of control. However, the majority of us don’t know or realize what led up to the insurrection besides Biden taking over in office, but Andrew Callaghan in his documentary, “This Place Rules” is trying to uncover that for us. Callaghan became well-known for traveling around the country and asking people questions.

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Andrew Callaghan’s cover for his documentary This Place Rules. (HBO)

“I drove all around the country going to different conventions, conspiracy rallies, music festivals, stuff like that”, Callaghan says.

During 2020, it was a year of tension and anxiety as the presidential election was soon, and mini wars were bursting on every platform you could find, Instagram, Tiktok, and even on news outlets. While Callaghan’s documentary appears to be light-hearted because of the director’s stoic and blank humor, it also brings light to a developing problem in America’s environment, without igniting fear within viewers that other news outlets constantly try to implement in watchers. 

Callaghan begins his documentary with a bit of a wacky beginning with two random social media influencers who go into a boxing match, but transitions it to Trump and Biden rallies, news outlets discussing the election, and how “democracy is in danger.” It’s similar to how you use a hook in an introduction paragraph of an essay, and makes the documentary less somber in the way other documentaries make people feel after watching. 

The wacky director establishes at the start, there is no bias towards the democrats, republicans, leftists, conservatives, communists, etc. He equally listens to various politically-involved citizens to illustrate the growing divide within America, without inputting his own bias/opinion.

Callaghan says, “Both sides of the mainstream media competed for views by showing us the worst of the worst from the other side, creating the ultimate domestic enemy to fear, and just maybe, fight.” 

In a country where news outlets have become alarmingly biased and made it clear who and what they favor, Callaghan’s lack of opinion in this, is incredibly refreshing.

With a mixture of various political groups, Callaghan has the most amazing, polar-opposite interviewees that make your mind feel jumbled at how these are real people in D.C. fighting everyday with each other as if it was a boxing match but with words. While politics aren’t the most favorite subject for a lot of people, especially with how interconnected and complex everything is, the documentary manages to make the discussion of such, a bit lighter and a lot more comedic than just hearing about this on CNN or Fox News.

Callaghan’s interviewees express, “We back to regularly scheduled racism” and,  “They need to change the judges, we need new rules, we need new laws, we need a new world”, shortly after the 2020 election results that announced Joe Biden to take office.

Politics have never been a light subject in America, however Callaghan does an amazing job at making the tension and hostile political environment of the 2020 election look like a carnival with the amount of unbelievable and peculiar events he gets on camera, while also informing people on just how strong the divide in America was and still is.