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Dan's Review: "Our Brand Is Crisis" misses as political satire

Nov 06, 2015 01:18AM ● Published by Dan Metcalf

Billy Bob Thornton and Sandra Bullock in Our Brand Is Crisis - © 2015 - Warner Bros.

Our Brand Is Crisis (Warner Bros.)

Rated R for language including some sexual references.

Starring Sandra Bullock, Scoot McNairy, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Ann Dowd, Joaquim de Almeida, Zoe Kazan, Reynaldo Pacheco, Dominic Flores, Louis Arcella, Octavio Gómez Berríos, Luis Chavez, Tilda Del Toro.

Written by Peter Straughan, based on the book by Rachel Boynton.

Directed by David Gordon Green.

GRADE: B+

REVIEW:

Politics is a messy game, and nothing changes the fact that most politicians have to get a little dirty if they want to win. Our Brand Is Crisis is a movie that exposes this reality better than most.

Sandra Bullock plays “Calamity” Jane Bodine, a political consultant hired by Pedro Castillo (Joaquim de Almeida), a candidate for president of Bolivia, running way behind in the polls leading up to the 2002 election. Jane’s team consists of Rich (Scoot McNairy), Ben (Anthony Mackie), Nell (Ann Dowd), and LeBlanc (Zoe Kazan).

With her work cut out for her, Jane is further troubled when she is confronted by her nemesis Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton), a rival political consultant working for Castillo’s opposition candidate.

As the campaign progresses, the tactics used by each camp intensifies, and the politics becomes dirtier by the day. Jane finds herself compromising her own ethics to combat Candy’s equally sordid methods.

As the election draws near, so does Castillo in the polls. Jane seems poised to triumph over Candy, but will she save herself from the effects of dirty politics?

Our Brand Is Crisis is brought to theaters by the same producers (George Clooney and Grant Heslov) who cashed in with Oscar-winner Argo two years ago.  Though based on the true story of the 2002 Bolivian election (the names of the candidates have been changed), there’s little reality in this political satire, except the realization that politics is a dirty game. That’s not exactly a big revelation to most audiences who would rather see a movie than vote these days.

Bullock is the movie’s saving grace, offering a performance that showcases her comedic timing and ability to own every scene she’s in. There’s also a little nasty chemistry between her character and Thornton’s, providing some laughs.

But Bolivian politics is no laughing matter to the millions who live in the South American country where national debt, hunger and corruption yet exists.

In the end, Our Brand Is Crisis never really materializes as relevant satire, despite Bullock’s performance and a few laughs.

 

Our Brand Is Crisis Trailer

Arts+Entertainment movies movie reviews Politics
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