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Our Brand is Crisis (Unrated)





Release Date: March 1st , 2006 (Film Forum) by Koch Lorber Films. Directed by Rachel Boynton.

BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about Democratic political consultants from the U.S. who aide the re-election campaign of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, a.k.a. Goni, as president of Bolivia.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: As a behind-the-scenes look at the forces manipulating Goniís campaign, Our Brand is Crisis is a fascinating and provocative documentary. The political consultant firm GCS (Greenville, Carville, Shrum) uses advertising strategies to make Goni appear to Bolivians as a leader who cares about democracy, freedom, and peace. Meanwhile, the nation suffers socially and economically. GCS does everything in its power to weaken the other candidates, Manfred Reyes Villa and Evo Morales. Not surprisingly, GCS uses negative advertising to manipulate the public, but the public is not so easily fooled. Director Rachel Boynton does a great job of capturing the strategic moments in a straight-forward way, making you feel as though youíre there as a voyeur. Just observing energetic James Carville as he articulately discusses GCS strategies is entertaining alone. For those who donít already know the outcome of the election, the moments leading up to the final outcome will be quite suspenseful.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, Our Brand is Crisis fails to pack much of an intellectual punch. Many people will probably make comparisons between Goni and Clinton, especially since Carville aided both. If youíve seen any of the past political documentaries such as the recent Street Fight , you will already know that the game of politics can be quite dirty and manipulative. After all, a person, just like a product, must have an image. Therefore, in order to show a positive image to the public, Goni pays GCS a large sum of money. Our Brand is Crisis becomes somewhat insightful when the camera shifts to the publicís opinion of Goni, but these scenes are too brief and, therefore, uneven. Itís also missing more of the directorís own voice.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Not enough interviews with the public.

NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 2

IN A NUTSHELL: Fascinating,informative, and occasionally suspenseful, but uneven and not as powerful or insightful as it could have been.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD


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