In 2002, Rachel Boynton covered Bolivia’s presidential election. She made a documentary with the same name as this movie. This version of Our Brand is Crisis is a fictionalized account of the election. Only the names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent. In real life, the election influencer was Bill and Hilary Clinton’s election-guru buddy James Carville.
He’s played nicely by Billy Bob Thornton, whose head is shaved to look like Carville. Sandra Bullock is his election nemesis and the film’s main character. In real life, she didn’t exist.
The movie does cover the complaints lodged by Boynton in her documentary and shows how two rival spinmeisters position their candidates by playing politics via dirty tricks. Other tactics are the manipulation of the media and of the masses. The “warning” is that these are techniques that have been polished to perfection in the U.S. and are being exported globally.
Our Brand is Crisis is pretty good movie and one that gives Bullock the rare chance to stretch as an actress. She’s moody, funny and distracted, and perfectly cast as the foil to Thornton’s Carville clone.
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Our Brand is Crisis
Director: David Gordon Green
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Joaquim de Almeida, Ann Dowd, Scoot McNairy, Zoe Kazan, Renaldo Pachero
Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars
Rated R for mature themes, language, some violence. It’s playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.