“Our Brand Is Crisis” is a comedic drama focusing on the realities of marketing and advertising in a political campaign. Sandra Bullock leads the cast as an eccentric genius with a grudge. Set in Bolivia, she and her team must take an unlikeable leader and get him elected.
How much is the general population subject to marketing and advertising, especially when we are talking about a political candidate? Jane aka “Calamity Jane” (Bullock) comes out of her reclusive environment to take on her nemisis, Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton) during the Bolivian presidential election. Her quirkiness and rather manic personality endears you to her goal of electing this pompous and contemptible candidate. If nothing else, we want her to beat her arch rival and his candidate. The antics that go on behind the scenes are frighteningly possible, and while this is entertaining, it is also a reminder of our own upcoming presidential election.
Although this is a drama, make no mistake about the fact that there is plenty of comedy as well. Bullock reminds us that she can do it all. Her character is all over the board with emotions, but we never lose track of who this woman is. Thornton is just one of those actors that you can despise from the moment his smug face slowly turns to make eye contact and that condescending smirk engulfs him. His misogynistic comments and actions create a truly despicable character and Thornton creates this character perfectly. There’s balance in the cast wtih Anthony Mackie and Ann Dowd as the rationale strategists, but Scoot McNairy and his unusual voice and off-topic comments find a way to make our emotional pendulum swing as quickly as the poles in this campaign.
“Our Brand Is Crisis” is a truly amusing film; nothing like my initial impression based on the trailers. Beautifully shot in parts of Bolivia and Puerto Rico, the film captures the sense of political desperation while maintaining a sense of humor and reality. For you high action car chase fans, this film even has that. It’s with dilapidated busses racing down single lane mountain roads, but it’s still a chase scene.
While “Our Brand Is Crisis” purports to be based on the true events of the 2002 Bolivian presidential election, it is a fictionalized account of it. However, it will make you think about how much fiction we are fed as a society, especially during an election. Could we see the candidates for real if we didn’t have these strategists and would that change who wins? How easily are you duped by the deception of advertising and marketing? You decide after seeing this film.
“Our Brand Is Crisis” is a unique film as it finds a way to balance humor, drama, and reality. Bullock and Thornton create interesting characters played well off the solid performances of the entire cast. You’ll see not only politics in a different light, but all marketing and advertising in a different way. And that’s a good thing.