review – our brand is crisis


This may be an important movie; it’s probably a very accurate one (it’s based on a true story); it may even be one that will help you understand what’s going on in the political arena here in the US, behind the scenes. But most people won’t see it – and probably shouldn’t — for a whole bunch of good reasons. Start with the lousy title. If you want to make a big budget movie to attract big audiences, you don’t borrow a title from a previous (2005) documentary that makes this sound like another one. To be fair, it is explained during the film – and even becomes a critical campaign platform for the candidate whose story this tells – but this isn’t the way people talk, or even the kind of title people relate to. And then there’s the story line – about an election in Bolivia with most characters speaking Spanish in a movie not really intended for Hispanics.

We keep winding our way through a political campaign that we really don’t understand or care about because we can’t relate to any of the characters – or even the country where it’s taking place. Who is this movie aimed at? None of the characters are very likeable. This is politics after all; it’s all supposed to be lies and make-believe. Sandra Bullock is very good, but she’s a recluse who keeps her own counsel and never reveals much about herself. Billy Bob Thornton plays his usual role – a cynical a**hole with a shaved head – in here to muck everything up. None of the other characters are well developed. The movie is lacking an edge – any edge — comedy, drama, suspense, romance. None of it is really in here. It misses so many opportunities to go somewhere, anywhere. There are several ideas interjected along the way, but one by one, they’re dropped. The story just plods onward and we feel exactly nothing for no one. There is not a lot of entertainment going on here.