"Don't Change the Man to Fit the Narrative. Change the Narrative to Fit the Man."
…And that’s where the film starts to fall apart. Because even though Bodine and President Elect Castillo are not real people, this election is based on true events and the issues at hand are real enough. And the ensuing political sparring that takes place throughout the story comes across as a little too glib and cynical in that context to strike a bulls-eye. The audience is being asked to be consensually manipulated, and I can understand why most viewers would object to that. We are not often asked to hold two conflicting viewpoints in our heads while doing something that’s supposed to be entertaining, and the film doesn’t give quite enough of a reward for the effort. Despite its bite, it can’t shake a feeling of sentimentality, especially near the film’s climax, and the attempts to give Bullock a conscience seem misguided and forced. I went into this film wanting an anti-hero. I got a slapped-together redemption story.
The trick to enjoying this film seems to be to not take it seriously, which is a disconcerting prospect. I would like to be invested in and conflicted by the political arguments the film presents, but the point of view is too fixed to settle itself into the moral greyness the story calls for. Add that to the overbloated cast and the hit-or-miss writing and it ends up feeling messier than it needs to be. I give “Our Brand is Crisis” a soft recommendation though, as a showcase of its main cast’s abilities and a reminder that elections have rules just like any other game.
Tequila, or Singani if you can get your hands on some.
-Drink when you see Jane eating chips or other snacks
-Drink when someone speaks in Spanish. Drink again if the speaker is American.
-Drink when Jane quotes a famous politician or historical figure
-Drink when someone says the name of a presidential candidate
-Drink when Jane falls down or bumps into something
This review was written by Hollis Beck (Krissy Pappau). "Our Brand is Crisis" was produced by Participant Media and Smokehouse Productions, and distributed by Warner Bros. The film is rated "R" with a run time of 107 minutes.
Special thanks to my patrons, Caroline Kittredge Faustine, Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin and Antonia Beck! Your donations helped make this article happen!