Our Brand Is Crisis – Suffering from an Unsettled Brand

Reader Rating1 Votes
The Good
Casting is on-spot
The humour is never over-used, nor does the show feel like a comedy
The Bad
The movie can't seem to decide if it does want to be a comedy
Anthony Mackie isn't given enough credit for his role

Our Brand is Crisis is not a bad movie. In fact, between a compelling look at politics from a marketing standpoint as well as a fun cast that easily carry the story with a sense of wit and humour, Our Brand is Crisis is a pretty great way to start the movie season this year.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t really know what it wants to be.

Set against a fictionalised version of the 2002 Bolivian presidential election and based on the 2005 documentary that detailed the event, Our Brand is Crisis offers a more light-hearted view on the process and the people behind the political forces of a nation. Unfortunately, given the actual event, “a light-hearted view” may not have been the best approach for the film. And, at times, it seems even less appropriate given the dark abyss in which we see lead character Jane Bodine (Sandra Bullock) spiralling into despite having only recently found some peace in her life.

Nevertheless, Bullock’s familiarity with characters that dish their fair share of razor sharp with helps with her treatment of the character, easily walking the line between outright unlikable to somewhat pitiable while also leaving room for admiration given the character’s vicious intelligence.

Slightly misleading, is the touting of Billy Bob Thornton as Bullock co-lead in the movie. While pulling of his antagonising role convincingly and with a menacing intensity (seriously, why isn’t this guy a super villain yet?) the truth however, is that his name is on the poster only because he is the second biggest star in the movie.

The honour of being the true scene-stealing supporting players would Anthony Mackie’s voice-of-reason character who juggles the responsibility of being pragmatic and comical with relative ease, Scoot McNairy’s somewhat lovable moron representing a large portion of politics PR managers, and Zoe Kazan’s Aubrey Plaza-esque deadpan attitude.

Ultimately, the movie’s greatest sin of not knowing its own brand is felt most in the epilogue-ish final act when it hits a bit of a drag in an attempt to unnecessarily explain the next step in Jane Bodine’s career.

Regardless, Our Brand is Crisis serves its purpose as an entertaining movie that, if you’re in the mood for it, might convince you to spare a thought for today’s politics. But if you’re looking to open 2016 with a dose of epicness? Then I’d suggest just waiting for Deadpool or maybe re-watching Star Wars.

Our Brand is Crisis is out now in all cinemas.