First Night: Sarah Palin: You Betcha! Toronto Film Festival

2.00

Broomfield's pursuit of Palin runs out of puff

"The hottest governor in the coldest state" is the latest target for Nick Broomfield, who in October 2010 took his microphone and camera to Sarah Palin's home town of Wasilla, Alaska, in an attempt to discover the truth behind the "hockey mom" myth.

The trouble is that Palin has been under so much scrutiny since coming in from the cold, when she was anointed the saviour of John McCain's ailing presidential campaign, that there are no stones left for Broomfield to turn.

Starting with archive footage of Palin's famous acceptance speech in which she declared that the difference between a woman and a Rottweiler was lipstick, Broomfield regurgitates the myth of the competitive Christian mother who at one time had an approval rating of 98 per cent.

Broomfield struggles to keep his footing on Wasilla's icy roads – a good metaphor for the film, which skates on thin ice as a journalistic endeavour.

Proceedings get off to a good start when the British documentarian ventures to Palin's parents' house and is invited in by her dad, Chuck Heath. The initial depiction is of an endearing old man bewildered by his daughter's success. Broomfield then meets some members of Palin's former Alaskan political team, Anne Kilkenny, John Bitney and Colleen Cottle, who chat about the zest of the Governor. Going against conventional thought is Broomfield's forte, and he's surprisingly at his strongest when praising Palin.

But it is all predictably a case of building 'em up so you can knock 'em down. After Palin declines his written request for an interview, Broomfield seeks her out at a book signing in Texas. When he asks if she would give an interview, the response gives the movie its title: "I could do that, you betcha!"

But still it proves elusive: the interview between Palin and Broomfield that the documentary is crying out for never happens. Instead Broomfield meets more and more people willing to tell him what a kooky, mean, competitive woman Palin is. All her former political colleagues bear grudges against her. Levi Johnston, famous for fathering a child with Palin's eldest daughter out of wedlock, tries to get money for an interview.

Broomfield is clearly frustrated that none of Palin's associates or close friends will talk, and in one of the few belly laugh moments ventures to Alexandria, Egypt, to find the only former classmate willing to talk.

Palin is attacked from all sides for her religious beliefs; even the town pastor, Howard Bess, says she is a zealot willing to take "an eye for an eye" too far.

From religion, Broomfield moves on to guns, drugs and affairs. The trouble is that all the dirty laundry has already been aired, and the desire of Palin's supporters for her to run for President has been undermined. Without a Palin interview, the documentary has no meat to add to the bones.

Arts and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam