March 12, 2012

Game Change - 2012

Director: Jay Roach
Writer: Danny Strong
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, Ed Harris

Based on true events, Game Change follows the selection of Sarah Palin (Moore) by Republican strategists in an attempt to garner John McCain (Harris) the US presidency, as well as Palin's personal strategy and less-than-stellar interaction with campaign workers.

I'll be the first to admit this is a change for me, in the sense that I'm reviewing a made-for-television film. However, this is one of those HBO films, which in my experience, always turn out stellar. Specifically, Roach brought us the HBO film a few years back that covered the 2000 Florida recount debacle (a guy I know got to be an extra, since they shot in Tallahassee), so I had high hopes for his handling of political drama, albeit this time dealing with well-known figures. Oh, what a film it was! Moore's portrayal of Palin is dead-on, and it reads like Fey's without the jokes. But do you really need jokes when it comes to someone like Sarah Palin? In all seriousness, though, this isn't the "liberal lambasting" of the former vice presidential candidate one might expect; although she's by no means depicted as a flawless character, Moore's portrayal comes of as incredibly humanizing at certain points, notably the moment when she's on the campaign plane and her entire entourage is watching one of Fey's SNL sketches in total silence. Harrelson does a great job as well in his role of somewhat unwilling campaign strategist Steve Schmidt, an emotionally-beleaguered man who realizes the consequences of his decisions far too late. The only negative I found in this movie is Ed Harris. The reason people put so much weight in McCain's choice of Palin is that she had a very real chance of ending up as president by virtue of the 25th Amendment. Harris's version of McCain shows none of the weakness of his real-life counterpart, so the high stakes of President Palin never truly come to fruition onscreen. A

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