Cary, NC — Our Brand Is Crisis stars Sandra Bullock as “Calamity” Jane, a washed up political campaign manager who gets a chance at redemption against her long-time rival with an election in South America. Despite Bullock’s strong performance, and a slew of engaging and funny actors, Crisis doesn’t have the bite or weight that it needs to be a successful political satire.
Bullock & Thornton Are Great. The Movie, However…
Bullock is, without a doubt, the best thing about Our Brand Is Crisis. Her character is a wreck at the beginning of the film. Battling depression, alcoholism and unemployment, it’s a really juicy role, and Bullock brings humanity and humor to it. I don’t think it’ll be her year in the awards race, but Crisis is another great reminder of just how talented and good Bullock can be.
Billy Bob Thornton also stands out here. There has been a small Thornton resurgence the last couple of years, mainly thanks to his incredible performance in the Fargo television show, and I couldn’t be happier. I love Thornton, and he’s crude and nasty in only the way Thornton can be. He plays Bullock’s rival, and the two have a great time pushing each others’ buttons.
Honestly, I think if the film had spent a little more time focusing on their relationship, it would’ve gone a long way in making it more enjoyable.
Nothing New to Say
Instead, Crisis is more interested in focusing on the highs and lows of politicking, which would be fine if the movie had something new to say. Unfortunately, Crisis doesn’t. Politicians lie. Politicians are corrupt. Politicians only care about themselves. Been there, done that.
It’s particularly frustrating, because the creative team involved have tipped their toes in political waters before – notably producer George Clooney (yes, that George Clooney). He recently won an Oscar, along with Ben Affleck, for producing Argo. And his own Good Night, And Good Luck was a measured and fascinating look at the McCarthy hearings. What a shame. All the ingredients are there, but, somehow, these guys just couldn’t make it work.
Overall, Our Brand Is Crisis is familiar and safe, exactly what a good satire shouldn’t be. I love Bullock, but you can skip this one.