NOTE: While “Our Brand Is Crisis” is a politically-based movie, it does not side with one U.S. party or another. In fact, I couldn't tell if a candidate was conservative or progressive throughout the movie.
Okay, the critics don’t agree with me on this one. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 33%. Amazon rated it 5.9 out of 10 and IMDb gave it a Metascore of 53. But that just goes to show you, the critics are sometimes wrong. (At least when they disagree with me).
“Our Brand Is Crisis” is based loosely on the documentary, “Our Brand Is Crisis” (catchy name, right?) which is about the 2002 Bolivian presidential election. Sandra Bullock plays “Calamity Jane”, a burned-out political consultant who is brought in to help the Castillo campaign. Jane struggles against being truly involved until her rival, Pat Candy (played by a bald Billy Bob Thornton) taunts her mercilessly. Then she unleashes the big, dirty bag o’ campaign tricks to fight back. More than just a story about a presidential election, this movie tells the story of a competition between two campaign consultants.
Bullock is about as convincing as possible. She struggles with deep depression in the beginning, becomes ruthless throughout the movie (with great comedic scenes interspersed here and there) and ends the movie portraying the slightest bit of hope in the future.
Some won’t like “Crisis” because it reveals the nasty side of politics. But in our own election year, when politicians are calling each other names, shouting down opposing comments, stretching the truth, making promises they know they can’t keep and basically being sons-of-a-bitches, it’s okay to wade into the mud-slinging for one hour and forty-seven minutes to get a good look behind the scenes. The campaign antics may be disappointing and frustrating, but, to paraphrase Frederich Nietzsche, “What does not kill me makes me stronger.”
So, go ahead. Get your cynicism on during this election season. Watch, “Our Brand Is Crisis.” It won’t kill you.
Quotable Quote: “You like to pretend you’re not one of us. But if you fight with monsters, you become a monster.”
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Stories are stories, whether they are recited around a roaring campfire, printed on paper or projected on a screen. And, stories should say something.