|On the other side of the coin, these
introduced the prospective vice-president's
(hereinafter referred to as the VP) father as a
character, then dropped him (this was fleshed out
in the deleted scenes).
VP refused to defend herself even though (1) the
charges were untrue (2) she had equally
embarrassing evidence regarding the opposition
(3) she eventually developed absolute proof that
the charges were untrue. Why did she do this?
Because she felt that the investigators had no
right to this line of questioning, and she would
not stoop to their level. I submit that anyone so
pure of heart could not become a U.S. Senator in
the first place.
the characterizations were interesting, they were
also one-sided and cartoonish. For example, we
are not allowed to see any positive aspects of
Gary Oldman's character, nor any negatives of
Joan Allen's. The entire face-off is Vader vs
Skywalker, not real world.
of the main "surprise" plot points was
telegraphed early in the film. The other
contender for the VP nomination, who tried to
save a drowning woman who drove off a bridge, was
being investigated. In the questioning, it was
clearly established that he was an expert
fisherman and an expert on that river, who never
should have been in that fishless area near the
bridge to begin with. Obviously, there was some
point to that scene, and it had to be that he
expected the car to drive off that bridge.
Knowing that spoiled many other surprises. For
example, when the president called the two
candidates together, we were supposed to think
that he was going to replace the woman with the
other candidate. But if you were paying
attention, you knew that wasn't going to happen.
Christian Slater character opposed the VP before he knew
of the sex scandals. Therefore he opposed her, in
all conscience, for other reasons, and they made
a big point about how important it was to vote
his conscience. When the sex scandals were
cleared away, he still should have opposed her,
entire sub-plot with the FBI agent investigating
the other VP candidate was a clumsy add-on to the
film. In fact, not only could they have
eliminated that part of the FBI investigation,
but they could have eliminated the entire
sub-plot with the other candidate, and it still
would have been the same movie about the
confirmation hearings, albeit paced better.
was not only a woman, but an atheist. Not just
any atheist, but an intellectual atheist who
viewed religion as "fairy tales". The
conflict with the religious right would certainly
be a major point in her confirmation process, but
they dropped this ball completely. Take it from
me, a man who has lived his life in the South,
this would be a much bigger deal than either her
possession of a vagina, or her participation in
teenage sex play. In reality, the opposition
would try to use her sex and her alleged
promiscuity against her, but those would be sound
and fury and spin, and would eventually leave
nothing but a lingering bad taste and ongoing
fodder for hate radio and comic monologues, like
Clinton's sex scandals. But her contempt for
religion would generate a mobilization that the
screenwriters obviously can't imagine (When you
live a sheltered life, talking only to other
politically correct liberal intellectuals on one
of the two coasts, you lose sight of what the
real issues are). Frankly, the script either
needed to drop this point or give it the
significance it would really have in the process.
It did neither. It just threw it out for a
second, then abandoned it, as if it were
inconsequential for a vice-presidential nominee
to designate religion as "fairy tales"
on nationwide television.
film ends with stirring speeches and rising music
and Lincolnesque wisdom and real cornball
platitudes. My hidden Scoopy unity is that movies
must not end with Lincolnesque speeches unless
they are actually delivered by Lincoln (see
"Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure")
way, I think it is more likely that the first black or
female vice-president will be a Republican. All elections
are fought to win the undecided vote. If you are
fervently left or right, there is nothing they can do
about you except try to get you to the polls if you agree
with them. There is no ideological strategy they can take
to persuade you to change your vote. In order to win a
consensus, the Republicans have to move left and the
Democrats have to move right, each trying to carve out a
share of the "undecideds" in the center. If the
GOP nominated a woman or an African-American, they would
be moving left, and would leave the democrats virtually
powerless to attack the candidate without violating their
own principles. If I were a Republican presidential
candidate, I would conduct a very extensive search for a
Republican Jewish female with the credentials to be my
running mate (if she exists!). If I were a Democratic
presidential candidate, I'd be more likely to seek
someone with crossover appeal to undecideds - certainly
not a female atheist!
course, this film doesn't deal with an election, but with
people nominated to fill a vacancy caused by death, so
the voters don't get any official voice in the process.
ends with a quadruple twist (1) the other VP candidate
faked the car incident (2) the VP actually didn't take
part in the sex scandals (3) the VP decides to withdraw
her nomination rather than defend herself, even though
she is innocent of the charges (4) the Pres refuses to
accept her withdrawal
DVD info from Amazon.
A dozen short deleted
"making of a
political thriller' documentary
|I watched the movie all
the way through, and enjoyed it all except the ending -
the quadruple twist and the
rising-music-stirring-speeches about government of all
disliked the finale for two reasons:
1. The audience sees it
all coming too soon.
2. Even though I
expected it, I still didn't like it. I hoped they would
go for something really daring which they didn't. (Like
if the VP had really done all the sex stuff, and just
told the senate committee outright that they were sexist
assholes who would never have considered those items
suitable investigation topics if she were a man. That
would have been bold filmmaking)
So the film is not as
intelligent as it would like you to believe, and nowhere
near as daring, but a good watch nonetheless.
General consensus: three
and a half stars. Ebert 4/4, Berardinelli
3/4, Maltin 3/4, Apollo 84.
summary. 75% positive overall,
70% from the top critics.
- With their
votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters
score it 6.9, Apollo users a very
impressive 80/100. These scores are
consistent with the critical consensus.
- With their
dollars ... it did a mediocre $17 million
in 1500 theaters domestically. If the
production budget of $9 million is
accurate, however, they seem to have
created a minor winner.
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this
description, this film is a B-.