Fans of “The West Wing”, “The Candidate” and “All the President’s Men” will enjoy this Oval Office scandal-obsessed drama.With a strong cast including Oldman (Dracula, Lost in Space), Bridges (Arlington Road, White Squall), Elliott (The Big Lebowski, Tombstone), Slater (Heathers, Bed of Roses) and Peterson (Mulholland Falls, The Skulls), the film is a coup for Oscar-nominated Joan Allen, for whom the script was written.
As a Democrat Senator running for the recently vacated position of Vice President, Allen (The Ice Storm, Nixon) manages to exude both strength and vulnerability as stories of sexual misconduct start flying. The script by director Lurie (Deterrence) is well paced and cleverly constructed (apart from a “too good to be true” ending), giving us political intrigue wrapped in the highly topical scenario of ethics and privacy. As the compromised Laine Hanson, Allen raises the “never complain, never explain” rule that just managed to hold my interest despite the resounding call for an explanation of her conduct. Any longer, though as the “I refuse to defend myself because it lowers myself to their standards” V-P nominee, and she would have lost my vote.Former film critic-turned-film writer/director Rod Lurie has obviously done well enough in his short filmmaking career to get Robert Redford and James Gandolfini on board for his next project “The Castle”. Considering Lurie’s attention to detail and ability to combine fact with fiction, I look forward to his next production. Another Alan Pakula, perhaps?