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The Contender (Rod Lurie) 2000

This film left me under whelmed. I suppose the movie worked on a potboiler level, but the politics were pretty one-sided & the characters too one-note. There aren't really any moments in which the characters have internal struggles They all are pretty much set in their ways. No one seems morally torn by the issues at hand (unlike a film like Quiz Show) this is fine, I suppose, but not as interesting as the material could be. Joan Allen was fine as Laine Hanson, but the character was underwritten and goes to show how little it takes to get an Oscar nomination these days. She has principles, I understand, but the way that the movie exonerates her is pretty ridiculous. She's as much a saint as Selma in Dancer in the Dark, but this movie has no sense of irony & expects us to accept her as is. Oh well...

Particularly infuriating are Bridges' speech to congress & the following applause, but the film is filled with Capra-esque flourishes that simply don't work in a modern political film. I think we've moved beyond such simplistic depictions of politics in our movies.

**1/2

September, 2001

Jeremy Heilman