'Our Brand is Crisis'
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Zoe Kazan, Scoot McNairy, Joaquim de Almeida, Ann Dowd
Director: David Gordon Green
This film aims to expose the chicanery involved in political branding. It's inspired by Rachel Boynton's 2005 documentary of the same name, which was based on events that occurred during the real-life 2002 Bolivian election when the James Carville's DC-based consulting firm was brought in to manage one of the campaigns for presidency. Director David Gordon Green of 'Pineapple Express' and 'Joe' fame, helms this political satire that ends up highlighting silly, childish pranks instead of getting deeper into the political quagmire for a more fulfilling experience. Peter Straughan's screenplay doesn't allow for any deeper insight other than the facile and obvious one. Presidential election campaigns have featured in many a Hollywood movie so this one doesn't have anything new to expose other than the place it is situated in and the local culture thereof.
Watch the trailer of 'Our Brand is Crisis' below
The country may be Bolivia but the strategies and tactics are not new to the Americas. As far as the Indian audience is concerned, but for the recent elections in India where the Prime Ministerial candidate chose a presidential campaign, we've not been exposed to this form of campaigning. So it's still a novel experience for the Indian audience so-to-speak.
Former President Castillo (Joaquim de Almeida) has seen considerable vane in his popularity given that the opposition candidates are far more charming, natural orators and have a better bond with the weaker sections of the country. So whether he is good or bad is inconsequential. All that matters is whether he can bring in the votes to garner him victory. Jane Bodine (Sandra Bullock) has been hired to set his image right and shift the tide in his favor. The opponent has an equally reliable consultant in Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton). Both teams are willing to get down and dirty and the bad history between Bodine and Candy only adds more spice to the face-off between the two main rivals.
'Our Brand is Crisis' basically attempts a cross between 'Primary Colors' and 'Z' but doesn't distinguish itself in the process. The satire doesn't quite work, the pranks devised as a show of aggressive competitiveness appear childish, there's a little too much of talk going on ( most of it extremely boring) and the performances lack dramatic heft. The attempt to leave the audience with a tinge of compassion for the lead character also appears contrived and is in experience quite unfulfilling. At the end of it all we as an audience are left quite dissatisfied. What started off as promising ends up as indistinct.