Review: 'Four Hours At The Capitol' Offers Revealing Details of the Insurrection

by JC Alvarez

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday October 22, 2021

'Four Hours At The Capitol'
'Four Hours At The Capitol'  (Source:Associated Press)

The United States of America has never been more at odds with itself, especially after the last four years. Our new president has walked into a minefield; democracy has never been more fragile. The great experiment that is America may be soon facing its own extinction.

That has never been more evident than on January 6, 2021, when a mob of angry seditionists stormed Washington D.C., determined to overturn the results of the election. They were spurred on by a narcissistic megalomaniac who envisioned himself as something he was not: Electable.

In the HBO documentary series "Four Hours at the Capitol," deputing on the channel Wednesday, October 20 (and then streaming on HBO Max), the filmmakers examine the notorious events of that day in startling detail, including perspectives from all sides... and we do mean all sides. It may not be necessarily important for some in our country to understand the mind of the insurrectionists that stormed the most sacred home of our democratic government, but if this is any indication of the work that is necessary to heal our nation, we have a long road ahead.

The documentary film is executive produced by Dan Reed (who also gave us "Leaving Neverland"), and provides unparalleled access and insight that creates an almost by-the-minute account of the siege. It is frightening and, in many ways, shocking; but, mostly, it is heartbreaking. The film gives time to members of the riotous bunch that appeared on that day to protest the certification of Joe Biden's election victory, attempting to overturn the results in favor of the "other guy," but their delusion and ignorance is palpable. It's very difficult to have any sympathy for these souls.

Many rely on baseless conspiracy theories and outlandish rumors, many of them perpetuated by the corrupt agents of the losing former president, but one thing they all agree on is that they were present on the invitation of Donald Trump, and were doing his bidding. These accounts are set against commentary from elected officials who feared for their lives; the camera reveals the inept former vice president being spirited away by the Secret Service to a "secure position," while members of Congress squat under chairs and bannisters for protection.

The details of the damage to property and people is fully documented and it is frightening, raising the possibility that if this mob had been better organized would they have succeeded in their attempt to take hostages or kill members of the Senate — or even hang Mike Pence, as their chants indicated they intended to do. Had the chaos escalated to that point, it might have encouraged Trump to declare martial law across the land. Fortunately, the dedicated Capitol Police were able to turn the tide and the business of the day resumed, but the scars left behind are all too visible.

"Four Hours at the Capitol" places the event in context, and in widescreen for all to witness just how tattered and torn our country has become, and how the Constitution has practically been burned to ashes. History has a way of repeating itself, and the events on January 6 were not the endgame for the assault on our democracy; rather, what happened that day is likely the prelude to more, and worse, to come. It's important to understand what transpired on that day, but it's also urgent to take a stand to make sure it never happens again.

"Four Hours at the Capitol" premieres on HBO October 20, and will stream on HBO Max.

Native New Yorker JC Alvarez is a pop-culture enthusiast and the nightlife chronicler of the club scene and its celebrity denizens from coast-to-coast. He is the on-air host of the nationally syndicated radio show "Out Loud & Live!" and is also on the panel of the local-access talk show "Talking About".