‘Our Brand Is Crisis’ – Effortlessly Funny With Excellent Performances All Round | Film Review
Inspired by a documentary, this film fictionalises a true story about the campaign race between Victor Rivera and Pedro Castillo (Joaquim de Almeida), who is a fictionalized version of Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada. The films premise is about American political campaign strategists, the ‘Greenberg Carville Shrum (GCS)’ being brought in to help the declining campaign of the controversial candidate Castillo during the 2002 Bolivian presidential election.
The film begins with Nell (Ann Dowd) and Ben (Anthony Mackie) attempting to convince Jane (Sandra Bullock) to manage the campaign. ‘Calamity’ Jane, as she was often referred to, went into forced retirement after her last campaign with her reputation in tatters.
At first reluctant to help, once she finds out who the oppositions campaign manager is, Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton), she decides to help. Candy is Jane’s arch enemy and both have their own personal reasons for wanting to win the election. Although Jane makes it very clear this is just a job to her, her desire to beat Candy is ultimately where her drive comes from.
This film started slowly and the first 20 minutes were slightly flat. However this is reflected in Jane’s reluctance to help a candidate she personally does not think to be any good. This all changes when Candy makes his first move in attempting to embarrass Castillo. Jane soon realises this campaign fight will be dog eat dog, and so she begins her own questionable strategy.
As the film goes on, and as Jane becomes more invested in the election, the more entertaining it becomes. There are some great comedic moments with Jane at the forefront of it all. She is a crazy, complicated and clever character. The film is not really a comedy, but manages to be effortlessly funny in a darker way than your typical comedy. Performances are excellent all round.
Stand outs were obviously Bullock and the elusive LeBlanc played rather amusingly by Zoe Kazan. LeBlanc is a strange character, but vital in the campaign as one of the only Spanish speakers, she is loyal to Jane, reporting directly to her about whatever is required.
Nothing is revealed about LeBlanc to the audience, which is mysterious, but also a good decision because no one really knows anything about her, including those she is working alongside. Billy Bob Thornton is creepy as ever, and portrays his weird relationship with Jane convincingly.
All in all this is a good film, not perhaps that memorable but an interesting story and one with which a lot of people will not be familiar. I always enjoy Bullock’s work and this is no different. She has good chemistry with Thornton as well as her other co-stars. It could have moved at a better pace as people may lose interest, however as it went on, the pace improved dramatically. Not amazing but an intriguing watch.
“You don’t change the man to fit the narrative, you change the narrative to fit the man”.
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