The film comports itself like any staid political documentary, built from talking-head interviews and public speeches. The film stands like an obelisk of partisan chatter. But this brisk synopsis of Eugene McCarthy’s failed bid to be the Democratic nominee—a process that saw Lyndon Johnson scuttle out, Bobby Kennedy stride in, and Hubert Humphrey win the nomination after Kennedy was killed—draws a perverse force from its blanched quality, its annulment of differences.
The last word goes not to the victor but to the vanquished as we hear McCarthy say off-screen: "We can't dissolve the government of this country, but hopefully we can change it." The sentiment still astounds for its simple yet radical ambition.