Title – Our Brand is Crisis (2015)
Director – David Gordon Green (Pineapple Express)
Cast – Sandra Bullock, Anthony Mackie, Scoot McNairy, Billy Bob Thornton, Joaquim de Almeida, Zoe Kazan
Plot – Political consultant Jane Bodine (Bullock) is lured out of retirement to head to Bolivia and help presidential hopeful Pedro Castillo (de Almeida) win his political campaign, a campaign that will bring Jane face to face with her arch rival Pat Candy (Thornton).
“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal”
Review by Eddie on 5/08/2016
As a big fan of director David Gordon Green due to his unique approach and memorable films like Pineapple Express and Joe, as well as the fantastically irreverent HBO comedy classic Eastbound and Down, I was willing to put aside all the negative reactions aimed at Green’s latest big screen venture (or direct to disc here in Australia) Our Brand is Crisis and hopefully enjoy my time in his Bolivian set political satire, but sadly the negative response to this unengaging experience was entirely warranted.
Perhaps the most “normal” film Green has ever produced, Crisis sees the sometime indie (Prince Avalanche) sometime mainstream filmmaker (eww Your Highness and The Sitter) restrain himself other than a few brief moments of random occurrences (an escaped lama and a dance scene that will remind many of Kenny Powers dance moves) and it’s to the detriment of Crisis’s based on a true story tale that Green can’t inject his usual flavour to the tale of political campaigns and truth and lies as the film needed an extra boost of originality and energy its name cast can’t deliver.
At one stage billed as a possible star vehicle for Sandra Bullock to once more feature at the Academy Awards ceremony, Crisis gives Bullock the seemingly award baiting role as presidential campaign manager with a number of personnel issues “Calamity” Jane but Bullock can’t save the film despite her commitment to the cause and while Green is usually a fine commander of the support cast he wastes potentially interesting side characters in the form of Anthony Mackie’s barely noticeable Ben, Scoot McNairy’s highly strung Buckley and Billy Bob Thornton’s bald shining dome in the form of Jane’s rival campaign manager Pat Candy.
It almost seems as if the cast didn’t know what they were aiming for, dark political satire? Sombre political statement maker? Or perhaps even a cautionary tale of America getting involved in things they shouldn’t well be involved in?
Missing the mark by quite a large margin, Our Brand is Crisis is easily Green’s weakest project in sometime that so easily could’ve been something quite special had its potential been realised in any number of facets and in wasting a fine cast in a tale that’s anything but engaging, this awkward film is highly unlikely to score well in the polls.
1 ½ escaped lamas out of 5
Ow, wow. That’s a bad score! I was thinking about seeing this movie, but I might skip this one after reading your review. Thanks Eddie!
I was keen to get into mate as a fan of Green but yeh this one is a stinker!.
Well summed up. I’m still not over how badly this film turned out. So much potential, but wasted at just about every turn.
Strange isn’t it Steven! I thought it could’ve been a real comedy classic but alas it ended up pretty much a complete waste.
Which also may be part of the problem. I never thought the film, as a whole, was trying to be a comedy. The trailer, the way it was cut, certainly suggested that, and made me believe the Llama scene would be funny, which it wasn’t in its entirety. Maybe if they’d just gone with a political drama with comedy in it, it could’ve worked. Things certainly went sideways at some point. Perhaps it was taking a documentary and making it a feature film was the problem.
I’ll have to check the doco out mate, heard great things!
That makes one of us. But, if I can come away loving “The War Room”, about the 1992 U.S. Presidential campaign of one Bill Clinton, then why not another political documentary?!
I didn’t like the movie at all! It was frustrating to watch.
Agreed Pam, a very frustrating experience overall.
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