Our Brand Is Crisis, film review: ‘Celebrity over substance’

15:57 24 January 2016

Our Brand Is Crisis. Picture: Warner Bros. Pictures

Our Brand Is Crisis. Picture: Warner Bros. Pictures

Archant

This look at the evils of political PR ends up replicating its subject, rather than exposing it, writes Michael Joyce.

Director: David Gordon Green 
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Zoe Kazan, Joaquim de Almeida and Scoot McNairy 
Film Length: 107 mins

Our Brand Is Crisis is a film about the evils of political PR that has no idea how to get its message across. It wants to be a dark and absurd comedy drama about the debased and trivialised nature of the political process, but it comes across as a Hollywood star vehicle that debases and trivialises a serious topic.

The film takes its title and inspiration from a documentary made 10 years ago about the 2002 Presidential election in Bolivia, where a team of American spin doctors rode into town and got an unpopular, authoritarian candidate elected. Here Bullock is a washed up campaign strategist who is persuaded to go South America to work for an unpopular candidate, because it’s one last chance to get one over on her arch enemy Pat Candy (Thornton), who is overseeing the frontrunner’s campaign. Once there she immerses the locals in the dark arts while indulging in larky escapades. The idea that the political process is a zany slapstick farce, where the actual candidates are largely irrelevant and everything is down to the prowess of the marketing, has traction. The film’s big problem is that, ironically, it is reluctant to go dirty, to lower itself to mud slinging. Bullock and her team do evil things, say evil things and seem to revel in their own heartlessness yet the film doesn’t seem to notice this. Bolivia will be sold out to the IMF but Sandra Bullock may rediscover her idealism. The film is not exposing the debased nature of modern political discourse, it is replicating it – personality over policy, celebrity over substance, soundbites over dialogue.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

10:00
The Hall school  triathlon team

A team of 40 mothers and staff from The Hall School, in Hampstead, are running the Blenheim Triathlon on June 4 to raise money for a Swiss Cottage youth project.

09:16
The man was stabbed in Camden High Street near Greenland Street

A murder investigation has been launched after a man in his 30s died after being stabbed on Camden High Street in the early hours this morning.

Chris Roche wants Muswell Hill Library to stay put. Photo: Polly Hancock

A renowned architect fears the historic library will be moved to the site of the former Green Man pub, rather than adapted for greater disability access

09:00
Dark wood furniture makes a statement in a room decorated in neutral shades, and John Lewis’ free-standing Bali range is brilliant value and good-looking: Tallboy, £195, and Mirrored Double Wall Cabinet, £95. Its roomy Two Tone Laundry Basket, £69, could be perfect for towels or laundry. PA Photo/Handout

Are you living the bathroom dream? The ultimate space for a wash-and-brush-up should also double up as a spoiling home-spa for relaxing – and your room is sadly lacking if it’s not offering both.

Yesterday, 09:00
Alan Titchmarsh, who is spearheading the Butterfly Conservation's Plant Pots for Pollinators campaign. PA Photo/Butterfly Conservation

In his Hampshire garden, green-fingered guru Alan Titchmarsh has swathes of butterfly and bee-friendly plants – from buddleia and verbena to catmint, cosmos and coneflower.

Fri, 20:11
Middlesex's Dawid Malan

Dawid Malan celebrated his first game as Middlesex’s T20 skipper with a classy knock of 93 as his side hammered Hampshire by 69 runs.

Fri, 17:00
Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe in THE NICE GUYS. Picture: Daniel McFadden

Shane Black has had his ups and downs in Hollywood – going from a million dollar screenwriter (Lethal Weapon) in the ‘80s to being largely ignored in the ‘90s.

Fri, 12:58
Nurul Islam celebrates at his Belsize Park kiosk with customers and Ham&High reporter Emily Banks, right.       Picture: Polly Hancock

The vendor who runs the Belsize Park newspaper kiosk today thanked his customers for pressuring Camden Council into doing a u-turn over the rent hike which threatened his business.

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe