Friday, October 30, 2015

Movie Review: Our Brand is Crisis


In Our Brand is Crisis, Sandra Bullock, a strategist, is coaxed out of retirement to help a Bolivian senator win the presidency. I thought this film would be more like Scandal (where Bullock is more of a "fixer" like Pope is) but instead it was an interesting mix of humor and politics.

Jane (Bullock), sometimes known as "Calamity Jane," has retired from being a strategist and now lives a relatively calm life in the mountains. Two colleagues go to see her to try and recruit her to help Senator Castillo (Joaquim de Almeida) win the presidency in Bolivia; as of the moment, he's failing miserably in the polls, and they know that only the best strategist, like her, can help him win. She initially declines, until she hears who the strategist for one of the other presidential candidates is: Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton), one of her rivals, whom she has never succeeded against. Jane packs her bags and heads to Bolivia, where she soon finds herself more emotionally invested in the fate of its people than she originally thought she would be.

Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton were fantastic in this movie, and Bullock's role was initially written for a man; she convinced George Clooney (the producer of the film) that a woman could play it. Anthony Mackie and Zoe Kazan have supporting roles here too, Mackie as one of Bullock's colleagues who convinces her to take the Bolivia job, and Kazan as a "wunderkind" assistant who is good at finding out information about people and their pasts. Reynaldo Pacheco also has a supporting role as Eddie, a volunteer on the campaign who lives in Bolivia and who grew up parentless.

Yes, see this film. The ending was a little surprising to me, but the journey to get there was great; there are both serious moments and humorous throughout. My favorite scenes were the ones where Thornton and Bullock got to riff off each other, as Thornton plays a bit of a jerk/womanizer, but there was also one involving a bus chase that was hilarious. I'd recommend this movie to anyone who is interested in politics/presidential campaigns - I read an article online that wondered why this film didn't come out next year, during the U.S.'s presidential year, actually - or anyone that enjoys good acting and a good story, really.

Our Brand is Crisis is in theaters today, October 30th, and is rated R with a runtime of 107 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.

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