Review: Our Brand Is Crisis

A presidential election in Bolivia in the early 2000’s with a candidate who, despite being President previously, is falling flat and enlists the help of a battle-hardened strategist (Sandra Bullock), who must work against her career rival Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton) with the help of her colleagues (Anthony Mackie, Ann Dowd, Scoot McNairy & Zoe Kazan). A political story with an edge of comedy in the midst of a politically charged climate in America (for reference see the endless news cycles of Trump v Clinton).If you’ve seen Bullock in a comedy it was most likely The Heat or The Proposal or Miss Congeniality, but this is not your average Sandra Bullock lead comedy; there are many layers to her character Jane, she’s not your average ice queen of a political strategist. She may be cynical and hardened and definitely uncaring of anyone’s thoughts or feelings but there’s still something behind that, a side that doesn’t want to engage with what’s going on and drag her into that dark side of her mind. Bullock does a fantastic job and leads this film with a fierce tenacity which makes it very much a shame that many may overlook this film. As for the supporting cast, each of them may not make a definitive impression but create a great team, and Thornton makes a formidable enemy and is entirely convincing as a detestable human being, which brings the whole thing together quite well.

Our Brand Is Crisis could quite easily be dismissed by many as a funny political comedy and slip under the radar, but it has a hugely surprising hidden depth which makes for a much more substantial film with a fantastic script written by Pete Straughan (Wolf Hall, Frank, Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy). As well as being funny, it is quite a serious look at the lengths people will go to during political campaigns to give their candidate a leg up, which given that it is based on a documentary, makes a lot of sense and has adequately taken the elements from the source to give the film a realistic and honest quality, that hits much harder than you’d expect. It does feel like a rather small and understated film but the choice to change America for Bolivia does add an interesting perspective, and moves it slightly away from what you’ve seen before.

This is a surprising film that sadly has a chance of going almost completely unnoticed in cinemas this month, it may be advertised as a simple political comedy but it has much more to offer. Bullock gives a fantastic performance, and for fans of the actress, it’s one not to be missed, such a brilliant display in a relatively small film is something you don’t see too often but is something to behold; it may have surprised some for Bullock to take the role in a film like this, but it pays off handsomely. For people looking simply for a comedy, this is not for you but for those looking for good story, acting and execution, this is a great choice. There is something compelling about this film, and it is worth far more than the little attention it has been receiving.

Verdict: 7/10


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