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Recount

Genre: , ,

Cast: Kevin Spacey, Bob Balaban, Ed Begley Jr., Laura Dern, John Hurt, Denis Leary, Bruce McGill, and Tom Wilkinson

Director: Jay Roach

Rated: NR

Review By:
Ryan Hamelin

School:
New York University - Tisch '12

Quote:
"Procrastinate now, don't put it off." -Ellen Degeneres

Release Date: August 19th, 2008
Click to Buy on DVD or Bluray!
Overall Grade: A-

Recount

Review By: Ryan Hamelin
RyanHamelin@TheCinemaSource.com

Recount

Movie Grade: A

DVD Features Grade: B

Overall Grade: A-

I am stunned. I came into Recount with nothing in the way of expectation. One of the annoyances of being away from home is the lack of access to HBO (I'll do my Entourage marathon to catch up as soon as I can) and therefore I completely missed the film when it premiered last year. I can say that this movie is one of the greatest political thrillers ever made, a category which tends to favor true stories, as it shares the triple crown in my book with Thirteen Days and All the President's Men. It's that good.

Why is it that good? That's only slightly harder to nail down because when everything works together this well, it can be a challenge to pick out the brightest spots. The cast is phenomenal and every single one of them is on top of their game. Even the actors who are not major stars and are not the primary players pull their weight, and the only thing which could tarnish the impressive casting would be a lackluster script.

Predisposed haters will have no such luck as Danny Strong has crafted an impressively realistic and tremendously powerful interpretation of the few moments not illuminated by the television cameras, and integrates the transcripts from those actual events seamlessly amongst the real footage and more subjective behind-the-scenes conversations. Thirty-six days of time pass without the story ever feeling rushed, and by covering both campaigns with exacting detail, the film created is a politically balanced enterprise. No matter whom you want to win, this isn't a divisive movie, it is simply a retelling of the events that took place on the ground in as unbiased a manner as is humanly possible.

By shooting the movie on location in Florida, even inside the Florida Supreme Court itself, there is a level of honesty and integrity that is normally reserved for documentaries, and it only assists in furthering the dramatic tension and anticipation which the film runs with for the entirety of its lean 2-hour runtime. Truth is stranger than fiction, and if I didn't know for a fact that each and every twist of this story was true, I wouldn't believe that it actually happened. The film works because it never slows down, never takes a deep breath, and from the moment the Gore aide with a busted ankle hobbles his way up to the front of the stage to get between the vice president and his concession speech, there's no looking back.

The handheld camerawork, intense music, and brilliant makeup and sound-alike work on the two candidate doubles are all just a few more small parts of an intensely gratifying film experience, the best HBO Films has done in a long time, and easily on par with the quality of their recent John Adams miniseries. It's a true

story that is worth reliving no matter how much you think you know about that historic election, and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone I have ever met, whomever is currently reading this, and anyone I will meet in the future.

The Extras:

Since this is an HBO Film I wasn't expecting much in the way of extras, so count me surprised they had anything beyond the trailer. The audio commentary is informative and engaging, and the Making-of featurette is a little on the short side. The real gems here are the two interviews, each featuring the actor and the person they played in real life. The interviews demonstrate the film's lack of bias, as well as giving the viewer a great comparison of the how close the actors were to their living and breathing counterparts. Based on the expectation I had for the extras on this disc, the DVD went above and beyond the made-for-tv standards, and seeing as this is probably the best release the film's likely to get, I'd say it's more than worth picking up.

Movie Grade: A

DVD Features Grade: B

Overall Grade: A-

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