The plot for “Our Brand Is Crisis” is one we’ve seen before, but only at first glance.
There are a few things about this “we need you to come out of early retirement to help us save the day” story that make it worth seeing.
One of those things, for starters, is Sandra Bullock. The Oscar-winning actress has had her share of laughable and implausible predicable films, but she’s a smart woman and in all honesty, a good actress.
Bullock plays Jane, a shrewd, outspoken and obnoxious political consultant who suffers from a litany of emotional, drug and alcohol problems. She’s an unpredictable, loose cannon and sometimes her strategies worked and sometimes they didn’t.
Because of this, she has been given the nickname Calamity Jane. In fact, her last catastrophe sent her into seclusion where she busied herself by throwing pottery.
It’s here, amidst her pottery-laden shack, that she is sought out by one of her former associates, Ann Dowd (“Side Affects,” “Marley and Me”) and her less than enthusiastic co-worker Anthony Mackie (“Captain America: The Winter Solider,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron”).
Their job is to convince her to join them in helping re-elect a Bolivian president who is not doing well in the polls.
She is convinced, but she is unaware that she will be competing against a long-term rival, Pat Candy (played by Billy Bob Thornton). Candy has not only beaten Jane at her game many times before but he has also stripped her of her self-confidence with the mind games he plays.
The banter between Bullock and Thornton alone make this an enjoyable film. Maybe if two other actors played these roles it wouldn’t be so captivating and enjoyable to watch, but these two accomplished actors are a joy to watch.
Thornton is creepy and arrogant as Candy. He plays Candy so well, that you want Jane to beat him no matter what it takes.
Bullock wears the character of Jane like a second skin. One may look at an actress like Meryl Streep and see that she always becomes the characters she plays; Bullock does the same thing. She may not play “The French Lieutenants Woman,” or Margaret Thatcher, but the roles Bullock plays are real and incredibly convincing.
Her Jane brews slowly until she finally finds her voice again. She takes control of the campaign and takes a room full of unbelievers in her talents and shows them she’s well worth her weight in gold.
It’s possible her work could be recognized this awards season, it should be, but even if it isn’t, her work in “Crisis” should be seen any way.