Mike Wallace Is Here beautifully captures the golden era of broadcast journalism while showcasing why Mike Wallace was an iconic seeker of the truth. Director Avi Belkin doesn’t attempt to paint a rosy picture of Wallace. He does effectively showcases the humanity and drive of quite a complex man. It seems on the surface; Mike Wallace was quite the curmudgeon. In reality, he struggled with demons very few have fended off.
Mike Wallace Is Here also makes clear that we live in a different journalistic world. Very few (if at all) would be able to get away with what Wallace did throughout his career. Belkin’s film doesn’t seek to show that one era is better than the other, but it does show just how far down the rabbit hole we have fallen. It seems we have traded in hard-hitting questions for slated approaches (depending which new channel).
What amazed me most about Wallace (other than his acting and commercial background) was the respect his subjects had for him. They may not have enjoyed the line of questioning, but most knew what came with “Mike Wallace style” of an interview. He seemed driven to accept a heavy workload as a way to avoid allowing life to set in. My guess is he had every intention of meeting his maker right in the middle of getting to the bottom of another scandal.
Overall, documentaries don’t get much better than this one. A brilliant look at an era which now more than ever feels like a distant memory.