Politics is all fun and games, until it gets personal. Our Brand is Crisis depicts a fictionalization of the dueling American political consultants who are brought in to help secure the 2002 Bolivian presidential campaign.
Sandra Bullock is “Calamity” Jane Bodine, an unpredictable strategist brought out of retirement, who is hired to turn around a losing campaign by the unpopular two-time former president and given only two weeks to create a miracle. Billy Bob Thornton is her foil, Pat Candy, a snake in the grass who supports the political front runner and someone who has had a rocky relationship in the past with Jane. Sometimes it can be difficult to decipher who is good and who is bad in politics, but even more so in international affairs.
Bullock is manic in her portrayal of Jane, an underdog with something to prove. It’s fun and easy to root for her character. Anthony Mackie steps out of Marvel’s superhero shadow with his strong supporting character, Ben, and Reynaldo Pacheco is excellent as a young volunteer.
The greatest quality of this movie is also its biggest liability. The focus here is primarily on the act of an unlikable candidate digging himself out of his self-imposed political depths. In a game of cat and mouse, the stakes are high and no one plays by the rules. You can expect a compelling storyline with lots of subtitles, but unfortunately, there really isn’t much interaction between the two leads. Pretty much every conversation they have together is shown on the commercials. That’s too bad, because each actor does a great job in their roles, they just don’t share much screen time.
A few comedic elements are sprinkled into the mix — be on the lookout for a full moon — but the front-and-center star of the story is the rocky road of politics and the candidates’ journeys to reach the profession’s summit.
Strength: Intriguing real-life storyline.
Weakness: Not enough shared screen time between the lead actors.
WTF Moment: The conclusion takes too long to wrap, as if the director had separate (and unnecessary) endings and used them all.