The Contender

viewed November 24, 2000 at Alexandria, VA   Full Details

As enjoyable a political romp as you can expect in this most sordid age of government. In spite of its inevitably lame resolution, the story offers an engrossing descent into the private and public hell that is the Senate Judiciary Committee as they review a nominee for the vacant vice-presidency. Joan Allen plays that nominee with all the iron and integrity she's exuded her whole career, and besides, the role was written with her in mind. Her character makes a crucial decision based on a moral point she sticks to: that upholding the integrity of the Consitution and the welfare of the American people is far more important than seeking personal gain. This is the kind of altruism that is most visibly lacking in this current, vicious post-election debacle. Meanwhile, Gary Oldman plays the committee chair with all of the caricaturized poison that Republican characters have exuded in every Hollywood movie ever made. Throw in some obligatory sex with your politics and you basically have an R-rated version of an episode of "West Wing."