Oh look, another movie about things that didn’t really happen that way by the guys that made that other movie about things that didn’t really happen that way. Yes, it’s about what you think it is, and yes, it will be spun exactly the way you think it will be. What more could our contemporary political climate need if not poorly-disguised social engineering to pad out a comfortable, fifteen-year-old narrative?
The worst part of this trailer isn’t even the story or necessarily its content. Political thrillers and comedies based on real events are a staple of popular culture and have been since medieval times, though the contemporary obsession with false depictions of real events and the confusion of fantasy for reality might make this sort of Saturday Night Live-style dramedy a little more obnoxious than it needs to be.
The worst part of this trailer is how absurdly tryhard it looks.
You can tell from the expressions of the actors that their impressions are driven out of malice. Good impressions of people carry both the good and the bad of the person being impersonated; it requires the actor to have enough insight and finesse to pay a tribute to them, even if the tribute is poking fun at some aspect of their demeanor or highlighting some aspect of their character. But the Bush Administration’s real life players have been so hated by the sub-90 IQ entertainers in the industry that I don’t think you could find anyone willing to do an honest, even if negative, portrayal of Number 43, much less anyone in his cabinet.
So what you’ll get instead is a series of performances of comparable caliber to your drunk friends pretending it’s 2004 again. Watch Sam Rockwell’s expressions—it’s like he’s not even aware of how stupid he looks. Oh, but isn’t that the point, right, since Good’ole Dubya was stupid too? Maybe if you’re doing a 3 minute sketch on SNL, Sam, but this is a two-hour movie. What the hell are you doing, man?
And of course, Christian Serious-Actor Bale, so dedicated to his craft that he’s willing, even though he doesn’t want to, to put away a good fifty pounds for an overlong cold open sketch, will be the biggest draw of the film. Movies today are not stories and spectacles made to distract us from the daily drudgery, they’re performances of ego made to glorify the vanity of the personalities that occupy Hollywood.
Is anyone going to this movie to watch a story, however stupidly-written, about the Bush Administration? Or are they going to watch Christian Bale and Sam Rockwell and Amy Adams pretend to be members of a political group? The movie wouldn’t exist without the specific actors they got. The cult of personality is the whole point. What a joke!