Sunday, January 17, 2016

Review of OUR BRAND IS CRISIS: Election Exigencies

January 15, 2016




I may be in the minimum, but I liked the very hip and unique-sounding title that this movie had. And that poster, what can that be about? Even if I did not know nor hear anything about it at all, I decided to go see just to see what that cool title and poster was all about. 

Jane Bodine (Sandra Bullock), a retired veteran political strategist was hired by Bolivian politician Pedro Castillo to help him win the 2002 Bolivian presidential election. Big problem was Castillo was perceived as elitist and unapproachable, ranked a lowly fifth in the polls. The leading candidate Rivera also had an American handling his campaign, Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton), who just so happened to be Bodine's long-time arch-nemesis. 

When the story unfolded, it turned out to be political in nature, based on a real presidential race in Latin America to boot. I was apprehensive if I would be interested in it at all. However, my worries were unfounded. I was actually quite entertained with the storytelling, even if you can already see the climax a mile away. I would give most of the credit to Sandra Bullock who was simply delightful in the lead role of "Calamity" Jane Bodine. 

In a turn reminiscent of her roles in "The Heat" (2013) and "The Proposal" (2009), Bullock plays another flawed perfectionist achiever. Her character may be high in IQ, but she would score terribly low in term of people skills. Bullock is unafraid to make fun of herself, and her fans love her for it. She actually had a mooning scene in this one! This film is not a pure comedy as the political topic was actually quite serious. However, Sandra Bullock's comic timing kept this film afloat as it tenuously straddles between contrasting genres. 

Billy Bob Thornton, whom I have not seen in films for some time, was very cool as the rival campaign manager. The actors who played members of Bodine's crew (Anthony Mackie, Ann Dowd, Scoot McNairy and Zoe Kazan) were also quite funny in their respective quirky roles. Joaquim de Almeida caught the "unwinnable" cold aloofness of Castillo. Young Bolivian actor Reynaldo Pacheco had the requisite innocence and political naivete his role as Eddie (one of Castillo's loyal supporters) required. 

This film was actually based on a 2005 documentary about political campaign marketing tactics employed by Greenberg Carville Shrum (GCS) in the 2002 Bolivian presidential race between Gonzalo S├ínchez de Lozada and Evo Morales. It was actually very interesting to see all these tricks of campaigning and damage control, legit or otherwise, utilized to get the upper hand in the surveys and in the election itself. I wonder how standard it was for foreign countries to hire American campaign consultants to advise them.

Some wacky scenes may feel out of place like the bus race or the drunken pranks, which seemed unlikely to happen in real life and were just placed in there in the name of comedy. Otherwise, I found the film fun to watch despite the seemingly uneven focus of director David Gordon Green. It was also eye-opening, especially for us who will have our own presidential elections coming in the next few months. I can't help but wonder what sort of maneuverings and shenanigans happen behind the scenes to manipulate public opinions about candidates in our local setting. Truth, as we know, can be stranger, and funnier, than fiction -- in Philippine politics. 7/10. 


17 comments:

  1. Sandra Bullock is one of my most favorite actress,so would love to watch her movie obviously.By the way the story of this movie also seems quite interesting too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sandra is such a talented actress with such diverse skills. I love her movies. I'm sure this one will be a great one. Thanks for the review. Gives me a good insight on what to expect. Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Usually I also don't like films that are largely political in nature. The plot may be relevant to the upcoming elections in the Philippines.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmmm...this is an interesting movie given the setting in the Philippines. And as a marketer, it is always good to see tips on how to turn around brands that are challenging to sell.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Now this movie is very timely in our country. :p Love Sandra Bullock but I'm not sure if I would watch this in a movie house. Might as well wait for a digital copy so I could watch this with my dad.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm such a Sandra Bullock fan, she is a gusty land on both reel and real.
    - Heena, www.iCynosure.in

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am going to watch this movie because Sandra Bullock. I like her acting skills and talent.

    ReplyDelete
  8. They say Sandra Bullock was awesome in this movie. And I can't wait to see it because of her.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sandra Bullock's movie is always something me and my sisters would love to watch and this movie is definitely not to miss for. Will look for this in the cinemas.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think this is very relatable to our country now with the election coming. A political backdrop to Sandra Bullocks style of comedy is something new to watch too.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Really thinking of watching this soon because I love Sandra Bullock! Haha! Hope to catch it in the mall :D

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yeah! C'mon Sandra! Liked most of her films. HAha even congeniality. lol. This one's reaching my list for watching. :D

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sounds interesting! I'd watch any Sandra Bullock movie blindly without reading reviews or anything. I became a fan of hers after 'The Blind Side'. But I became a huge fan after watching her Razzie awards acceptance speech!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I really liked some of Sandra's movie , especially "The blind Side" , her being in the movie and that it is a sports movie. Also Miss congeniality and the one where she's a witch ( i forgot the title). I will be watching this tonight, i saw it in put locker

    ReplyDelete
  15. wow! this cuould be interesting. seems to be a good twist in the plot

    ReplyDelete
  16. You are watching this before us! I'm so gonna catch Sandra Bullock soon! Gonna catch it regardless of the review!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I've not heard of this but I love Sandra Bullock and her work, such a great actress. Fab review thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete