Don’t let its low score on rotten tomatoes dissuade you- “Our Brand is Crisis” is yet another killer performance by Sandra Bullock that entertains and enlightens all the way through.
Political strategist Jane Bodin, A.K.A. Calamity Jane, (played by Sandra Bullock) flies to Bolivia to discover the Bolivian presidential frontrunner’s strategist is none other than her long-time rival Pat Candy (played by Billy Bob Thornton) and that her own candidate, Pedro Castillo (Joaquim de Almeida) is a whopping 28 points behind.
What audiences might not expect is the dark and satirical humor that’s intertwined with its serious political and moral message. These random moments are often caused by Bodin’s reckless, borderline crazy behavior, and while they may not cause one to fall out of their chair, are still amusing. Despite being highly regarded in her field, these episodes eventually land her a night in a Bolivian prison, though they do help her bond with the locals.
In one scene, Bodin and her colleagues shoot a campaign commercial in which the candidate talks about how llamas will save the Bolivian economy, however, things don’t go as planned. Right before filming, their llama wanders into the street, and moments after, gets hit by a car.
In moments like these, not only does this movie portray the central role political strategists have in elections, but it shows all the hilarious antics that go on behind the scenes, which can be just as dark and as humorous as anything else imaginable.
Bodin is such a strong character because she is also flawed. However, she also has many admirable qualities including her ambition.
Bullock’s performance could best be compared to her role in “The Blindside.” In both movies, she portrays an assertive, independent woman in a way that’s believable and easy to connect with.
Part of the character’s likability, however, comes with the un-likability of her nemesis, Candy, whose actor, Thornton, deserves almost as much of an applause as Bullock. He brings the character to life in a way that’s so cringe-worthy and nonchalantly despicable and crass, that the audience finds themselves wanting Castillo to win almost as much as Bodin herself.
More than just acting, the movie has an overall message that is important to remember in such a money and power-driven world.
There are some things, like the friendships you make, that are more important than money, and no matter what field you enter it’s important to not lose your morality.
Why “Our Brand is Crisis” flopped at the box office and in reviews is puzzling. With Bullock being such a huge name in Hollywood right now and political satire being so popular, one would expect quite the turnout, yet the film earned a disappointing $3.4 million during its opening weekend.
Part of the film’s negative criticism may be due to unrealistically-high expectations. Compared to her past movies “Gravity” and “The Blindside,” “Our Brand is Crisis” seems a little cliché and predictable for a Bullock movie. The film lacked the artistic appeal of “Gravity” and the poignancy of “The Blindside.” However, it was leagues above most of the blockbuster crap shown in theatres these days.
For these reasons, I give “Our Brand Crisis” three and half stars. It may not be getting an Oscar anytime soon, but the script was surprisingly witty, and the acting was 100 percent on point.