Published Sep 18, 2015It'd be tempting to write off Our Brand Is Crisis as an Armando Iannucci rip-off, as its pointed criticism of behind-the-scenes democracy at work will leave you bemoaning the political process while also laughing your ass off. That said, David Gordon Green's latest is a truly singular work.
The fictional film was based on the 2005 documentary of the same name, and explores the strange truth that American political strategists are hired to work on elections in other countries. Sandra Bullock stars as "Calamity" Jane Bodine, a ruthless political strategist who goes head to head with Billy Bob Thornton's Pat Candy when they compete to swing an election in Bolivia.
The film's plot, fiery dialogue and political cynicism are certainly reminiscent of Iannucci's Veep and The Thick of It, but Green has added in plenty of unique elements to keep viewers on their toes. For one, Our Brand Is Crisis is partly a ridiculous slapstick caper, as Jane and Pat's feud results in constant pranks that come to a head with a white-knuckle, cliff-side campaign bus race. Further, as Green's no stranger to party scenes, there's a great drunken hangout in the middle of the film.
Unlike Iannucci's films, Our Brand Is Crisis has a strong beating heart to add emotion to the tale of political disenchantment, meaning the film packs a message, even if it's one that borders on schmaltzy at the end. Still, Our Brand Is Crisis is a poignant work with plenty of laughs to be had.