Saturday, March 10, 2012
Game Change The Thread
Director Jay Roach isn't a stranger to political controversy: his last movie for HBO, Recount, had critics yelling that the fictionalized account of the 2000 debacle of Florida painted the Democrats as the loveable underdogs and the Republicans as the bullies At least with Recount, what worked best was the all-star cast and how razor sharp the satire was. His latest movie, Game Change, is setting off another round of "Liberal Hollywood bias!" by commentators, Sarah Palin included. Do yourself a favor: watch the movie first, then form judgements later. Unlike Roach's last outing, there's little to laugh at. He plays this straightly dramatic, there are moments where the lines of dialogue feel forced and cliché, and the film skips over too much; this could have been a riveting 7-8 part miniseries on the entirety of the race, instead of a 2-hour facts-based, by the numbers drama on one aspect of it.
Yet, for all it's faults, Game Change is still a compelling film, and one that hinges on the strength of Julianne Moore's phenomenal performance as then-Governor Sarah Palin, plucked out from nowhere to become a rising star of the right, at the expense of the presidential hopes of the McCain campaign. Like the real-life VP hopeful, the movie focuses mostly on her, and she doesn't let anyone - be it McCain's top strategist Steve Schmidt (a fine Woody Harrelson) and senior advisor Nicole Wallace (the terrific Sarah Paulson) or her own brain-trust - forget it. The moment she goes on the campaign circuit, her inner-diva, as her jaw-dropping ignorance of world and domestic events, becomes a liability that even John McCain (Ed Harris) can't contain. Moore has played strong women on the verge of a breakdown before (see: Magnolia, The Kids Are Alright) but here she's at her best, lacing the fire and surprising vulnerability she shows as her character takes hit after hit from the media.
*** out of **** stars