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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Recount

Sometimes movies on cable can be just as good if not better than films released theatrically.  Part of that is the freedom that filmmakers are allowed on cable.  When I was back at film school, I was listening to a Q & A from two directors and they said they preferred to make movies on HBO.  The point I'm trying to make is Recount, which recently premiered on HBO is damn good movie.

Not only does the film tackle a huge issue (2000 Presidential election), but it delivers solid performances and really takes you back to that crazy period in late 2000 when no one knew who the hell was going to be President.

I was only 15 back in 2000, but I remember that election and staying up until 2 or 3 a.m. waiting to see who won.  Of course, the winner wasn't decided that night and Recount chronicles from election day until the Supreme Court came down on a decision in December.  It could be easily argued that the film is made by Democrats, but it does a good job looking at both sides of the battle.  I didn't even find it to be a biased approach.

The film is anchored a strong performance by Kevin Spacey as Ron Klain, who also produced the film.  Though, the shining light of the film may be Laura Dern, who gives what I predict will be an Emmy nominated performance as Katherine Harris. Also, Denis Leary, Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt, Bob Balagan, Ed Begley Jr. provide additional support.

The crazy thing about that recount is that no one knew how big of an election that really was.  It's impossible to know if Al Gore would have been a great president, but it's easy to believe he would have been better than George W. Bush.  If the Gore camp continued to fight and eventually won Florida, where would we be today?  That's part of the beauty of this film.  You're with the Gore camp and you experience the ups and downs of their battle to get Gore in the White House.

When it's over, you're drained of your energy and hope.  Part of the reason is that you know what will happen over the next eight years.  You feel pity for the Bush camp as you would be happy for their victory if you didn't know that Bush would be arguably the worst president in history.

I'm sure the film will be on DVD eventually, but if you have HBO I would strongly consider watching it.  It's worth the two hours of your time.

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