Sandra Bullock’s likability goes a long way in Our Brand Is Crisis, a film which is inspired by the 2005 documentary of the same name. In it, she plays ‘Calamity’ Jane Bodine, a burnt out political consultant who is brought back into ‘the thick of it’ when asked to manage the campaign of Bolivian Presidential candidate, Pedro Castillo.
With her arch-nemesis and rival Pat Candy – played by a brilliantly deadpan Billy Bob Thornton, in a role originally intended for George Clooney – running the campaign for the main competition, it isn’t long before the political warfare gets personal. It’s clear they have history and the sexual tension is palpable.
Whilst Peter Capaldi’s foul-mouthed Malcom Tucker, the snarly spin doctor from the BBC comedy The Thick of It, wouldn’t be out of place in this kind of story, Our Brand Is Crisis never fully reaches the heights, or rather depths, of the characters featured in Armando Iannucci’s hit series.
The only real edge in the film comes from the vibrant visuals, which, to be fair, is true of the majority of director David Gordon Green’s back catalogue. When it comes to the socio-political side of things however, it’s decidedly safe, and despite its satisfying conclusion, it fails to fully drill down to the internal conflict of Bullock’s character.
As far as the politics go, the documentary from which this was inspired is a lot more successful in getting the point across. That said, this dramatisation is a lot of fun, never outstays its welcome and zips along at a fair ol’ pace.
Sandra Bullock is fantastic in the central role, bringing with her a great on-screen presence and bags of charisma. Without her, Our Brand Is Crisis wouldn’t be half as enjoyable as it actually is. As it stands, the film is a decent one-hour-forty at the cinema, if instantly forgettable the moment you leave.
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