• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Aug 4, 2020
Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 7 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Meghan O'Keefe
    Aug 4, 2020
    80
    The Swamp‘s biggest strength, its nuance, is potentially its weakness. Viewers are so accustomed to super biased storytelling when it comes from contemporary political docs that The Swamp‘s extremely sensitive portrayals of three controversial Republican politicians as people might actually upset some viewers.
  2. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Aug 3, 2020
    80
    Daniel DiMauro and Morgan Pehme’s intriguing documentary, “The Swamp” (premiering Tuesday on HBO), makes a good-natured and often compelling attempt to explain some of the endemic, deep-seeded dysfunctions of Congress (a.k.a. “Washington”), while also doing its best to not seem so naive as to present old outrages as fresh news.
  3. Reviewed by: Alex McLevy
    Aug 3, 2020
    75
    The film effectively traces the birth of the modern all-fundraising-all-the-time elected official, but what it doesn’t do is offer anything in the way of new ideas. In fact, it’s pretty clear what needs to be done—and the film all too plainly points out why it’s not likely to happen. What The Swamp does offer is a look at the day-to-day work of three representatives whose more complicated stances on governmental integrity may surprise Democrats and leftists used to doing nothing but demonizing them.
  4. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Aug 6, 2020
    70
    “The Swamp” is full of insights and tasty details about how the culture of Washington operates. ... Yet “The Swamp” is finally a documentary about too many different things, even if part of its sophistication is knowing how those things are connected. ... In the end, though, “The Swamp” is still well worth seeing.
  5. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    Aug 4, 2020
    60
    The final product plays as a showcase for Florida's Matt Gaetz. It's no surprise that Gaetz, whose greatest gift seems to be his capacity to absorb media attention, captivated The Swamp's editor, and there's something unquestionably entertaining about his brazen appetite for attention. But it means that The Swamp is only occasionally about the thing it insists that it's about.
  6. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Aug 3, 2020
    60
    The Swamp has an attention-grabbing title, but this HBO documentary -- built around extensive access to three Republican congressmen -- gets bogged down in too many side streams.
  7. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Aug 3, 2020
    40
    A decidedly wishy-washy look. ... Despite routinely pricking Gaetz and company for behaving in ways that are diametrically opposed to their declared values, The Swamp still spends considerable energy lavishing fond attention on them. ... Only in interviews with Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig does The Swamp make a truly passionate case for the need for wide-scale lobbying reform.

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