Blu-ray Review Comedy

'Our Brand is Crisis' Blu-ray Review: Sandra Bullock brings name-brand star power to timely electoral satire

February 2, 2016Ben MK

Taking its cue from the 2005 documentary of the same name, Our Brand is Crisis is a story about presidential elections in one of the most politically unstable nations in the world: Bolivia. Unlike its documentary counterpart, however, this 2015 version of Our Brand is Crisis is definitely more fiction than fact, casting Sandra Bullock as a semi-retired political strategist who suddenly finds herself back in the game.

Bullock plays Jane Bodine, a former political strategist whose ruthless — and oftentimes dirty — tactics have earned her the nickname "Calamity Jane." Now, after living the past six years in relative obscurity, Jane is called back into doing what she does best by her former associate Nell (Ann Dowd) and her colleague Ben (Anthony Mackie). This time, however, she'll not only be traveling to Bolivia to help the underdog in the current presidential race (Joaquim de Almeida) with his beleaguered campaign, she'll also be going head-to-head with her arch rival Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton), a man with whom she shares a murky, common past.

Interestingly enough, Bullock's role was one that was originally conceived for producer George Clooney. However, if you didn't already know this going in, you'd be hard pressed to figure that fact out along the way. The part feels 100% tailor-made for the Bullock, who infuses her character with her own trademark brand of wit and sarcasm. And though the actress' performance at the outset seems to skew a little too far towards the comedic end of the spectrum, as the film goes on and the story takes a turn for the dramatic, so too does her performance evolve to suit the tone of the narrative.

With the 2016 U.S. presidential elections now beginning to kick into high gear, Our Brand is Crisis appears to be very timely indeed. However, despite its relevance to current world events, the film isn't without its flaws. Directed by David Gordon Green (Manglehorn, Pineapple Express) and written by Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), the movie deftly plays the cynicism card for both laughs and tears; that is, until its hard-edged tone starts to unravel as the film nears its inevitable conclusion. Still, it's a relatively entertaining ride while it lasts, and one that fans of political satire should certainly appreciate.

Boasting a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix and an exceedingly film-like 1080p visual presentation, Our Brand is Crisis looks and sounds fantastic on Blu-ray. Sharp and detailed with just a hint of film grain, the hi-def image benefits from strong contrast and vibrant colors that bring to life hues like the bright green, yellow and red flags hoisted by protesters as Jane and company arrive in the Bolivian city of La Paz. Meanwhile, the English and Spanish dialogue-driven soundtrack never loses clarity, though it's occasionally punctuated by the sounds of Latin hip hop beats, small farm animals and, of course, all the cheers and boos heard from the audience during the various political rallies.

Warner's one-disc Blu-ray release includes an UltraViolet digital copy, as well as the following Blu-ray extra:

  • Sandra Bullock: A Role Like No Other (11:00) - Bullock and the filmmakers talk about her character, including how the character was originally developed for George Clooney, her motivations, her dynamic with Billy Bob Thornton, the nuances of her performance and her character's arc.

Our Brand is Crisis is available from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment as of February 2nd, 2016. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 47 Mins.

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