The Independent (2022): Is the Thriller Movie Inspired by Real Events?

Image Credit: Matt Infante/Peacock

Peacock’s ‘The Independent’ is a political thriller film that is set around the US presidential election and follows a journalist who realizes that the country’s fate can change due to a conspiracy involving a presidential candidate. When an athlete enters the race of the US presidential elections, people wonder if he’ll disrupt the two-party system or just be another independent candidate to lose. As the movie progresses, it is revealed that everyone is asking the wrong questions.

The debut feature film of director Amy Rice is packed with tropes such as morally grey characters, idealistic v/s realistic views of the world, witty one-liners, and more. Considering the political history of the United States, the audience is bound to wonder if the movie is based on true events. Is that really the case? Let’s find out!

The Independent is an Original Story

‘The Independent’ is not a true story. The narrative of the film is driven by a screenplay written by debut screenwriter Evan Parter, who showcased his script on The Black List, a platform where film and TV writers can put their work which professionals can evaluate. According to The Wrap, the script was on the platform for about 10 years before it became a full-length feature film.

Although the film is entirely fictional, it does shed light on real-life aspects of elections and electoral campaigns. Its core premise is rooted in how news companies and PR agencies are closely related to the candidates’ propaganda. Besides this, it also portrays how there are always shades of grey hiding underneath the pristine white persona the audience sees on their screens. ‘The Independent’ touches upon the nuances of these dark realities and keeps the audience hooked until the very end.

Charged with compelling performances by John Cena, Brian Cox, Jodie Turner-Smith, and Ann Dowd, among others, the story portrays the various facets of the presidential elections. It centers upon Nate Sterling (John Cena), who is relatively new to politics and enters as an independent candidate with his manifesto, A Declaration of Independence. According to Nate Sterling, the two-party system is the cause of numerous challenges the people face in the country. He mentions how the country has gone through wars, recession, and more such crises. Nate believes that both the Republicans and Democrats are the cause of several problems in the nation.

In many ways, they nullify each other, which hinders the country’s growth and progress. Thus, calling himself an independent candidate, Nate steps into the election with his manifesto, offering a solution to the political stasis. Contesting against him is Patricia Turnbull (Ann Dowd), who aims to become the first female US President, and the country is supposed to choose between the two. However, an elaborate conspiracy is brewing in the background, which Eli James (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Nicholas Booker (Brian Cox) try to unravel. All these parts act as pieces to one giant puzzle called ‘The Independent.’

The story’s tone and premise are reminiscent of several films within the political-thriller subgenre. Various twists and turns flip the entire premise upside down, leaving the audience wondering what will happen next. It seems to harbor several tropes from other movies and shows in the genre, such as ‘The Ides of March,’ and Aaron Sorkin’s ‘The West Wing.’ In fact, the movie is likely to remind people of the various themes depicted in the latter show, including the idea of a new leader who can disrupt the status quo, the building tension as the story progresses, the high stakes, deception, and many more.

All the aforementioned motifs build up to the grand ending, where a single move by any character can make or break for the others. Thus, to reiterate, ‘The Independent’ is a fictional story that not only shares a few classic themes and similarities with other films and TV shows in the genre but also bears certain characteristics of real-life elections.

Read More: Where Was The Independent Filmed?