OUR BRAND IS CRISIS
I really wanted to like this latest film from Sandra Bullock, I really did. Ms. Bullock is a smart actress and producer and usually gets good material to work with, but that did not happen with her latest film, Our Brand Is Crisis.
The film starts off with the best of intentions by giving good political background information on Bolivia and why it is so important for the United States to pursue a candidate who will do the U.S. government’s bidding, Senator Castillo. In order to make this happen, “Calamity” Jane Bodine, played by Sandra Bullock, is recruited to help get the election fixed, er, played out to America’s satisfaction.
The first stumbling block to the story is how Sandra Bullock portrays Bodine when she arrives in Bolivia. She seems either hung over or on depressant medication and is barely noticeable during the introductions with the Castillo political machine. All of a sudden, and without warning, she wakes up from her stupor and gives the marching orders for how the campaign should be run and everyone is quickly on board with the aloof Bodine. This is a typical Hollywood effect that just doesn’t work here at all. The director, David Gordon Green, is trying to manipulate the audience to feel sorry and compassionate for Bullock’s character without giving us any reason to feel that way. There is nothing to like about a character who seems moody and depressed one moment and then instantaneously connected by being sharp and focus the next. It is too predictable and it does not allow the audience to connect with Bodine and it allows a separation between Bodine and the audience throughout the rest of the film.
When Bodine is being confrontational with her political adversary, Pat Candy, who is played by Billy Bob Thornton, Bullock’s character comes across as a victim instead of a cutthroat political adviser. Thornton, however, commands every scene that he is in and I wanted to learn more about his character but he is given so few film time compared to Bodine and her brood of American political groupies.
The scenery of La Paz and the city within is absolutely spectacular. I have never been to Bolivia but I have visited Brazil and Chile and the cinematographer has captured the South American landscape very well. The political landscape of Bolivia is also represented vey well in the film and the movie paints a good picture of how American and Bolivian politics differ in so many ways with the outcome showing the cause and effect of the voters’ decisions.
I am sure the next film that Sandra Bullock gets involved with will be a lot better than Our Brand Is Crisis. It has to be.