Director David Gordon Green has absorbed the story (screenplay by Peter Straughan based on Rachel Boynton's documentary) and in addition to creating a tense film about political corruption in Bolivia, he places before the public the corrupt tricky shenanigans inherent in US politics that we are watching daily on television and other sources of media manipulation as the contenders for presidential candidate throw even more crude moments our way. It is well-timed film – if only people will take the time to watch it.
The plot is well summarized: 'In 2002, Bolivian politician Pedro Gallo hires American James Carville's political consulting firm, Greenberg Carville Shrum, to help him win the 2002 Bolivian presidential election. GCS brings in Jane Bodine (Sandra Bullock) to manage the campaign in Bolivia. Battling her arch nemesis, the opposition's political consultant Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton), Bodine successfully uses American political campaign strategies to lead Gallo (Joaquim de Almeida) to victory against Victor Rivera (Louis Arcella). The depths to which these manipulators stoop are at first surprising until we realize that politics is a game run by media writers and crisis managers and money. Then we feel privy to the rotten side of political campaigns and realize we are all watching it live at this moment.
An eye opener – or is it? The performances by Bullock, Thornton, and de Almeida are excellent as are those by the supporting cast, which includes Anthony Mackie, Ann Dowd, Dominic Flores, and impressive newcomer Reynaldo Pacheco.
Worthy of your attention if you can tolerate the undressing of politics. Grady Harp, February 16