Monday, September 5, 2016

Primary Colors

With all the sheer insanity of this current election, one starts to wonder if this was always the case. Are most if not all political campaigns this bloodthirsty? Granted, fiction often satirizes what happens in the world of politics (i.e., The Thick of It, Veep) but sometimes life itself inspires fiction.

Such is the case with Mike Nichols' Primary Colors. With Jack (John Travolta) and Susan Stanton (Emma Thompson) being obviously based on Bill and Hillary Clinton -- Jack more so -- it's safe to say that it caused a bit of controversy upon its release. (Details of the Lewinsky affair were emerging at the time.)

Of course considering this current election, Primary Colors shines in a different light. Elements of both the film and the election eerily parallel one another, almost to a point that it seems Nichols and Elaine May foretold the future. But the film's more than a thinly-veiled exposé.

As expected from a Nichols production, the acting is top-notch. Each actor brings their A-game to their performances, no matter the size of the role. The one that stands out from them all is Kathy Bates, the lone actor to receive an Oscar nomination for Primary Colors. (And it doesn't take much to see why.)

Primary Colors is one of several politically-themed films that depicts a world of backstabbing and sabotage to further their own careers. But Nichols and May satirize such matters to make it accessible to those with a faint grasp of politics. After all, isn't it a subject that next to everyone is sick and tired of?

My Rating: ****1/2

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