In a world where news doesn’t so much break as spiral out like a mad Tilt-a-Whirl, a documentary on the current state of politics could easily feel as obsolete as yesterday’s tweets, so much digital dust in the wind. Somehow, though, filmmaker Rachel Lears (The Hand That Feeds) has managed — through hard work, skill, and some seriously good luck — to make a documentary that captures one of the most electric moments in recent history, on radically human terms.
Officially, Knock follows four progressive female candidates, though the one who inevitably dominates is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Bronx-bred waitress–turned–congressional unicorn. It’s a lot of fun to ride along on her wildly improbable rise, from slinging margaritas and scooping out ice buckets to taking down one of the most powerful Democrats in the House.
But there’s inspiration, if not necessarily ballot-box triumph, in the other aspirants, too: a coal miner’s daughter determined to take back West Virginia industry, a grieving mother of a girl turned away from lifesaving treatment for lack of health insurance, and a St. Louis nurse galvanized by the Ferguson riots.
You don’t have to agree with their policy points (as many AOC haters have already made abundantly clear) to feel the power of the message here: If our government isn’t by the people — real, ordinary, everyday people — who is it for? A–