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Our Brand Is Crisis (Blu-ray Review)

22 Jan, 2016 By: John Latchem

Street 2/2/16
Box Office $7 million
$28.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for language including some sexual references
Stars Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Joaquim de Almeida, Ann Dowd, Scoot McNairy, Zoe Kazan.

Based on the same-titled documentary about the 2002 Bolivian presidential election, Our Brand Is Crisis has all the trappings for a smart and funny dark comedy about the gap between politics and reality. Unfortunately, the movie shies away from embracing its own cynicism, ultimately to its detriment.

The final act swerves into a not altogether unexpected character drama, which, judging by her comments in the film’s lone bonus featurette, may have been why the film landed Sandra Bullock for the lead role.

Bullock plays a semi-retired political strategist named Jane Bodine, who is convinced to emerge from exile to take over the presidential campaign of a hapless Bolivian politician because the frontrunner is being guided by her longtime rival.

Bodine quickly unleashes her inner beast, a ruthless political operative who will stop at nothing to carve success out of an unsuspecting electorate, without regard for truth or consequences. And early on, the film is perfectly willing to let her go about her business for the sake of some great laughs, leaving any meaningful discussion of policy on the sidelines.

Bullock shines in the role, leading a cast that’s more than up to the challenge of taking on the material. But the filmmakers can’t resist tugging at the tapestry of their satire, layering in a muddled sentiment as if to prove a point that never quite comes across. And that’s a shame, since some really great laughs are left behind.

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