A lack of focus in tone greatly hindered the enjoyment in a film that wasted some great cast members.
“OUR BRAND IS CRISIS” stars Sandra Bullock as a veteran American political consultant who faces her longtime rival played by Billy Bob Thornton, when she is sent to Bolivia to use her experience and skill-set to help re-elect a presidential candidate with questionable ethics.
I didn’t know what type of film this was going to be going in and after watching, it is safe to say the film-makers also did not have a clue about what they wanted this film to be. I heard it was loosely based on a true life event and how accurate it was, is for another conversation. But I think it is safe to say this story-line veered more towards the side of fiction. This film boasts the headliners of Bullock, Thornton, and Mackie and there was no reason it should have been the boring, drag of a movie it turned out to be.
First; the characters were not very likable nor were they weren’t easy to connect with. So in the end, them, and the story direction itself, failed to keep me engaged after the first fifteen-minutes. Whether it was a lack of depth in the development of the characters, or mis-direction by David Gordon Green, none of the cast really felt like they took on a persona relating to the script. Bullock felt like Bullock, Thornton felt like Thornton, and if this was a film based on an event that actually happened, there should have been some character acting delivered, which there never was. Overall it was simply both the headliner’s delivering a personality we have seen from them on many occasions already.
Given the skill-set of Bullock and Thornton I would have to lean towards the notion that lack of material was the cause of them not being able to connect to the roles they were playing. In the end they both delivered a couple chuckles but none were able to deliver a performance worthy of putting on the resume. Their chemistry however was pretty good, which in a way was unfortunate because they were not used to their potential. Anthony Mackie was very good in his scenes, and was easily the most likable character in the film but with minimal screen-time and a role that really had no impact on the plot, he wasn’t able to really help make this film more enjoyable.
The tone of the story was really all over the place as well. In some moments it tried to be a comedy, others a drama, then there were moments where it tried to show a political seriousness, and none of them translated well. The lack in focus of what this film wanted its tone to be hindered the enjoyment with some pacing issues and the story made many shifts. There were some comical moments from Bullock, and some well delivered lines by Thornton, but these moments were so few and far between in a script that just seemed to drag in the second-act.
In the “Our Brand is Crisis” felt like a crisis of of its own, and was simply not a fun film to sit through. Something that is unfortunate given the cast. It is forgettable and messy as far as tone. None of the small laughs are memorable, the drama feels routine and the scenes where this film wants to be serious are set up so poorly they come across as contrived. Fans of anyone in the cast can still pass on this one as there are many other films that gave them better material to shine with. There were a handful of good moments but overall it never translates to an uplifting night with a movie.
– Starring –
Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Joaquim de Almeida, Ann Dowd, Scoot McNairy, Zoe Kazan,
– Directed By –
David Gordon Green
Time: 107 min
MPAA Rating: R (For language including some sexual references)