“You know, we’re standing on the doorstep of a new millennium.”

Except for a questionable incident at the end of the film, Beatty fills Bulworth with useful cinematic elements and shapes an original, relevant concept into an engaging story. Beatty, who directed and co-wrote the film, combines the art of filmmaking with the art of politics in a bold context. Also, a good role for Beatty as the lead character, Jay Billington Bulworth, who forges his own unpredictable path while the various supporting characters react. Halle Berry plays the lovely Nina, Oliver Platt the campaign manager Dennis Murphy, Paul Sorvino the big business contributor Graham Crockett. A drug dealer named L.D. (Don Cheadle) and Nina’s brother (Isaiah Washington) also contribute big roles to the story.

This great film delves into many issues and emotions about the political state of the country that affects and mirrors our society. Bulworth “spells it out for the people” and uses politics for social reform instead of social control. He mentions how the 70 billion dollar media industry has more say in who wins political races than the people do.

He makes hip hop gestures behind the American flag. He openly combines racial and social stereotypes to get his point across. He connects with the people in curse, “no holds barred” manners which produce a lot of his problems and sometimes facilitate his existing problems which he initiates at the beginning of the film. Beatty uses urban settings, unpredictable sound effects, dramatic tension, and key character decisions to ultimately decide Bulworth’s fate.

Unlike many media figures, Beatty doesn’t “act black” to imitate African-Americans, but instead stimulates politicians minds (mostly aggravates) and brings his message to the people. This film is driven on theme which is vital for Bulworth’s existence and affects the characters around him as well.

The political system turns itself full circle and lets the people take advantage of the politicians instead of vice versa. (L.D. states this element near the end – one of the more poignant lines of the film). Highly recommended for bringing new life to political dramas, the truth, instead of hearing it when the politicians are behind closed doors. Recommended (*** out of four stars) and rated R for pervasive strong language and some drug content.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

This entry was posted in 1990s Film Reviews, Film Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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