Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Swing Vote Review

Ah the joys of Netflix, being dragged into the living room by family to watch some film I have never heard about. I have plenty of homework to do, but let me tell you I am so glad I sat down to watch Swing Vote.

Bud Johnson is a laid back worker in New Mexico with a daughter during a fictional alternative 2008 presidential election. In this movie, the election came down to one state, and one popular vote holds back the election from being decided. Seems like a crazy concept, but as someone who studied constitutional law; it IS possible for this to happen.

I have heard so much negative commentary about Kevin Costner as an actor, but I liked his performance very much in this movie. Being a single parent to his daughter portrayed him as a unmotivated alcoholic, he doesn't cook or even fulfill simple promises to his daughter. It is one thing to portray that role, it also lends itself to a quick hollywood change in attitude when the script calls for redemption. Things like that limit a film in its believability, although I don't worry about it so much. Thankfully director Joshua Stern didn't compromise the character study of Bud Johnson for the sake of plot, Costner deserves credit for that too.

Speaking of his daughter, Molly was played wonderfully by Madeline Carroll. Yeah, I was a little disappointed that we didn't get to see her side in politics. Yes, she was of the mind to be a good citizen and apparently that's enough for the audience. The movie did send a good message about civic duty, connected with Molly Johnson's character. Molly's struggle in this movie is just so easy to sympathize with, with the moments of "silent thought" in the film really pushing the emotion in this film instead of being dumbed down into words.

The movie also does a good job of putting the mirror in front of the characters, making them question their roles in politics. Yes the movie addresses politics, but not a specific issue directly. Instead, its an overall judgement story of the characters as to being true to themselves with no compromise. That really won me over, and I got a little "choked up" as the movie progressed from a combination of sad reality and a REALLY WELL DELIVERED monolouge by Kevin Costner.

I recommend this movie, its such a good film to pull out when you feel moody. It just makes me want to raise the american flag and ironically go out and vote when you see the impact your vote really causes. This movie shows that, and I was reflecting on my own views during this movie.

So for that, the movie gets an 8 out of 10.

See it.

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