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Our Brand Is Crisis

Updated on November 19, 2015
Stevennix2001 profile image

Steven Escareno is an amateur film critic that writes about movies in his spare time.

Our Brand Is Crisis

Director: David Gordon Green

Writers: Peter Straughan, Rachel Boynton

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Joaquim de Almeida, Ann Dowd, Scoot McNairy, Zoe Kazan, Dominic Flores, Reynaldo Pacheco, Louis Arcella, Octavio Gómez Berríos, Luis Chávez, Azucena Diaz, Damian Delgado, Nina Leon

Synopsis: A battle-hardened American political consultant is sent to help re-elect a controversial president in Bolivia, where she must compete with a long-term rival working for another candidate.

MPAA Rating: Rated R for language including some sexual references

Stevennix2001's Rating and Review Summary for those that wish to skip the actual review

8 / 10

Pros:

- Acting was good

- Billy Bob Thornton and Sandra Bullock play off each other rather nicely, which leads to a lot of great moments throughout the film

- The political campaign strategies discussed in this film are interesting, as you can easily compare them to the strategies we're seeing being implemented in this year's political race to the white house.

- Interesting script, with a lot of great concepts.

Cons:

- The story tends to drag it's feet a lot; especially around the beginning. And, it can be a bit dry at times, but if you're into politics, then you might find this film interesting.

Somehow I think this might be a movie that aims true to Donald Trump's political strategy if anything

When politicians can't offer you hope for a better tomorrow, they sell you on the concept of crisis, and that they're the only unapologetic tough guys that can fix it. Whether it be about the economy or war, it's no secret that politics has always been a dirty game. All of them lie, but some lie more than others. Many giving us false promises of hope, while others try to promote fear mongering to the point that you'll be too scared to vote for anyone else because you'll truly believe that candidate, who's promoting the fear tactics, is the only one that can save you from the impending crisis ahead. It's a dirty game to say the least, but don't hate the player. Hate the game.

Sandra Bullock plays a retired political campaign manager named Jane, who's been recruited by a politician to help him get re-elected in Bolivia. According to the polls, he's considered out of touch with the people, and he's often viewed as a bad person; in spite of his recent campaign ads trying to prove otherwise.

Jane observes and begrudgingly accepts the position, but only after she finds out that the campaign manager for the other guy leading the polls happens to be her long time rival, who's beaten her in every election campaign they've ever competed in together. This snarky rival is played by none other than Billy Bob Thornton, who plays a cutthroat straight talking son of a b**** by the name of Pat Candy. He not only relishes in beating Jane on a regular basis, but he often enjoys hitting on her as well, which never tends to go anywhere.

To make a long story short, Jane comes up with the idea that if making her candidate relatable to the people isn't working, then it's time to sell them on crisis. She schemes to make their election campaign to revolve around "crisis", and how her unapologetic a**hole of a candidate is the only one that can handle it.

As she points out in the film, if you want to promote the narrative of "hope" and "change", then people usually vote for the new guy. However, if you promote "crisis" and "fear", then people will often vote for the strong leader that's currently in charge at the time.

And if you stop to think about it, the political campaign strategies that they talk about in this movie sound eerily similar to the ones we see happen in real life all the time. Back when President Barrack Hussein O'Bama ran for president years ago, he ran off the ticket of promising hope to the people. We've endured eight long years under Republican candidate, George W. Bush, and people were sick and tired of his bulls*** by that point.

That paved the way for O'Bama to promise change and prosperity. Remember his slogan, "Vote for Change?" It was a campaign that promised hope and prosperity. Something new and different. Whether or not you believe he actually did deliver on his promises is another story altogether. However, I'm not here to defend President O'Bama, nor condemn him in this review. I only bring this up because I'm trying to compare how eerily similar the campaign strategies used in this movie are often used in real life as well.

As far as using fear tactics to get people into re-electing you because you're a strong leader, this was another tactic that the American public saw used, during George W. Bush's re-election campaign. If everyone seems to remember, Bush was also considered out of touch with the American people a the time as well. Many people within the US were angry with him about invading Iraq, and it's not like he was smarter than Senator John Kerry was at the time either. However, since the "war on terror" was still going on at the time (and it still is arguably), he was able to sell people on the prospect that he was the only leader strong unapologetic leader that could handle it, and that's mostly how he got re-elected.

Hell, the prospect of mudslinging other candidates, by having controversial and embarrassing information leaked to the public, is another tactic that's explored in this film, as Sandra's character uses it to siphon other voters away from other conservative candidates in Bolivia, while knocking down the leader of the polls as well. It's another dirty trick, but let's be honest. We see this happen all the time. Hell, how else do you explain why we're finding out about all these lies by Dr. Ben Carson recently? Obviously, one of his competitors has to be leaking this stuff to the media.

If you're into politics, then you might find "Our Brand is Crisis" interesting because of the political strategies implemented throughout the film, and how they're explained in practicality. As for how they're implemented in the narrative sense, I thought it was woven together quite nicely.

"Our Brand is Crisis" is definitely a nice satire of the politics in today's modern era, and if you've been following this year's US presidential race, it's quite interesting to see all these campaign strategies brought up in the film being implemented in practice, and how eerily similar they are to the practices that we're seeing now. It's quite interesting to watch, and if your into politics, then you'll probably love this movie.

However, that's not to say this film is entirely perfect either. It does drag a lot, in the beginning. Not to mention that it can be a bit dry at times. But if you can withstand it's slow start, then you might find yourself intrigued by arguably one of the most cleverly written political satires ever conceived.

If you ever have a chance to rent this movie on DVD or Blue Ray someday, then I'd highly recommend it. As far as seeing it in theaters though? I wouldn't go out of my way to see it, but if you're into politics, then it might be right up your alley.

© 2015 Steven Escareno

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