Our Brand Is Crisis Review - AVClub

AVClub: Fictionalizing non-fiction is a common practice; most films that purport to be “based on a true story” ought to slide a “loosely” in front of that boast of veracity. But there’s dramatic license, and then there’s taking real events that are plenty interesting on their lonesome and bending them into the shape of cliché. The political comedy Our Brand Is Crisis shares a setting, an area of interest, and maybe even an ultimate message with Rachel Boynton’s decade-old documentary of the same name, about a group of American strategists energizing a doomed presidential campaign in Bolivia circa 2002. This new Crisis sticks to the basic factual outline presented by the old one, but it also subs out the major candidates for fictional proxies and invents a brassy composite main character. By changing the names, the filmmakers are able to justify converting a ground-level portrait of electioneering—all backroom shoptalk and stump speeches—into a shamelessly commercial Sandra Bullock vehicle. It’s a makeover worthy of the vote vampires it ends up critiquing and lionizing.

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