OUR BRAND IS CRISIS

“Our Brand is Crisis” stars Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock as a deeply damaged but still brilliant political strategist, “Calamity” Jane Bodine. A Bolivian presidential candidate, Senator Costillo, played by Joaquin de Almeida, failing badly in the polls enlists the dazzling strategy of Bodine.  Bodine is enticed back into the political arena with the prospect to compete against her professional nemesis, the repugnant Pat Candy, played by Academy Award winner Billy Bob Thorton, now coaching the opposition.

Reynoldo Pacheco is outstanding as Eddie a young ideal activist who idealizes Costillo. Ann Dowd plays Nell and Anthony Mackie is Ben. I would like to have seen Dowd and Mackie’s roles expanded. They were just there to fill space.

I must say Billy Bob Thorton needs hair or a hairpiece. Bald doesn’t work well on him.

“Our Brand is Crisis” is based on a documentary of the same name. They changed the names of the people in the documentary. I am mystified why they bothered making this “fictional” film. They should have left this movie in the can. It is confusing and kind of silly. I think they were trying to find a vehicle for Ms.Bullock to show off her dramatic acting skills. This ain’t it. The crux of the movie is that the protagonist is disillusioned with politics because politicians lie. What planet does the screenwriter live on? Of course they all lie. Duh!

The screenplay was written by Peter Stranghan based on the documentary, “Our Brand is Crisis” by Rachael Boynton. The film was directed by David Gordon Green.

The cinematography was fascinating. I found the shots of Bolivia to be beautiful and interesting. There was a chase scene that kept me on the edge of my seat that was exciting and fun. I would have liked more of this and less of the main character’s angst.

The audience was not bowled over by the film either. The reactions at Wehrenberg’s Ronnie’s Cine 20 on Monday night were lukewarm at best. One guy said he would come to any movie Sandra Bullock was in; she was great but the movie stunk. A couple I met thought it was confusing and didn’t understand what happened at the end. Two women thought this was a good movie. I would suggest that you wait and watch it on television if you are a Sandra Bullock or Billy Bob Thorton fan.

“Our Brand is Crisis” opens Friday at AMC Showplace Edwardsville 12.

The Telegraph’s contributing movie critic Mary Cox lives in Wood River and is a member of the St. Louis Film Critics Association, who also occasionally writes about film-related topics, studied film at the University of California, Los Angeles, and worked in L.A. with various directors and industry professionals. She can be reached at mlcwriter@charter.net.