This Place Rules: A Movie Review

Reviewing Andrew Callaghan’s refreshing documentary


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    As both a journalist and a comedian, Andrew Callaghan has created a unique interviewing style, asking objective questions and allowing his interview participants to discuss whatever they feel led to in his popular “man on the street” journalism segments. 


   Usually, Callaghan takes to the streets to conduct his random and quirky interviews, speaking with people going about their days. Recently, however, Callaghan used this unique interviewing style in his shockingly politically charged documentary, “This Place Rules,” which premiered on HBO on December 30th, 2022. 


   In the documentary, Callaghan packs his belongings into an RV and takes off across the country, making stops and conducting interviews in cities around the United States that are divided geographically, culturally, socially, and politically. These stops are not random but follow individuals and events that were significant in the weeks leading up to the January 6th, 2021, insurrection on the United States Capitol building. 


   On this journey across the country, Callaghan stops at Trump rallies, environmentalist protests, Biden rallies, Alex Jones speeches, and even Proud Boys rallies, hearing each side of the larger political argument.


   Callaghan also makes individual visits to radical members of both sides of the political spectrum, one of those being Alex Jones, a podcasting conspiracy theorist. He makes a point to show how Alex Jones specifically has been forced into smaller echo chambers and presents well-thought-out theories on why pushing alt-right members to smaller platforms only makes them louder and more heard.


   The documentary places little focus on the actual events of the January 6th attack, instead highlighting the tension and divisiveness in the weeks leading up to the insurrection. His lack of probing questions in his interviews further allows the viewer to understand that this fight is less about politics and more about maintaining opposing opinions.


    This radical change from his usual humorous content is striking and has helped many viewers learn more about the political climate of the United States right now. Callaghan’s presentation of this content is hallmarked by his ability to accurately capture the events and perspectives of the individuals involved on both sides of the political battlefield. This documentary is well-organized, well-researched, and well worth the watch.