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