“The Comey Rule,” written and directed by Billy Ray, (“Shattered Glass,” “Breach”) comes to us via Showtime, with almost all of the players in what some think was the greatest American tragedy since 9-11.
As we know, the movie about Moses with Charlton Heston is so much more enlightening and enjoyable than the biblical version. So it is with Jim Comey’s TV version of his book, “A Higher Loyalty.”
Director Ray gives us almost every human being connected with the nightmare, as Comey’s driver, a simple, sweet man. In an elevator scene, Comey (Jeff Daniels) breaks the silence by asking the driver how his daughter’s piano recital last night went.
This is designed to show how Comey, with his reputation now shattered, paid attention to the small details of the little people around him, but when it came to sliding Hillary Clinton into the White House, he came up short, so short, that Donald Trump, who was recently resting in his bed at Walter Reed Hospital, was handed the colors and brushes to change all the details in the great American Tapestry.
The problem is, having been soaked in the events that brought us to this current state of pain, it’s hard to review.
Comey part one opens as the 2016 election unfolds. We will not go into that unpleasant event, because, as Donald Trump would say, “We’ve been there, done that.”
For an entire run of the first session, we are shuffled from one brown-toned office after office, with the women in dark-toned attire. All played by good, interesting actors.
In fact, the only fun is watching these good actors bring life to the suits.
They are a loyal band of Comey’s FBI team, sitting and listening to Jeff Daniels praise their efforts. Comey tells them what’s expected. When he leaves the room, they turn to one another with stunned and confused expressions.
The casting folks went to great pains to make all the important players look as much like the heroes and villains, except for Jeff Daniels, who looks nothing like Comey.
Comey had the look of an aging altar boy with the soul that went with it. Daniels looks much as he does in every film.
They were also clever in their casting by hiring short actors to make Daniels look as tall as Comey, whom I believe was 8 feet 9 inches tall … it didn’t work.
PART TWO
Finally, what we’ve all been waiting for, the gates to the dungeon are opened, and Ray unleashes the hulking monster around whom the story revolves.
This will be the great Irish actor Brendan Gleason, presented here as Donald Trump, but so overdone, it’s hard to take him seriously. It’s almost a SNL attempt.
But this is the monster Comey saw, big and fearsome, emitting sounds like a caged beast. His hair and makeup are over done, but the death ray in his eyes when he speaks is perfect. His voice is one long phlegmy whisper and sucking sounds, as he moves among his trembling sycophants like a 2020 Captain Blye. All that’s missing is a belaying pin.
Trump/Gleeson prowls the halls of the White House, overweight, breathing heavily, shoulders hunched, as in William Butler Yeats’ famous poem.
“Reel (sic) shadows of the indignant desert birds, were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle, And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
Gleason gives us that “rough beast,” in living color.
Read the poem, see Ray’s television “Comey,” and pay attention to the late night dinner for two with Gleason’s Trump as host. It’s a dinner that explains the nightmare.
Not since Dracula hosted Jonathon Harker to his castle, have we been so deeply chilled.
“The Comey Rule” is now streaming on Showtime.

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.

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