Play time: 1h 48min
Director: Warren Beatty
Screenwriters: Warren Beatty
Starring: Warren Beatty, Halle Berry, Kimberly Deauna Adams
Wag the Dog, Primary Colors and now Bulworth are all films with political agendas (I hesitate to say “political satires” because Primary Colors is marginal). They have all been released within the past year. They have all been wonderful. Yes, Hollywood is on a roll with movies about politics. All three have been critical, as well as commercial successes. And while Bulworth is the weakest of the three, it is still very good.
Warren Beatty Outdoes Herself with Bulworth
Senator J. Billington Bulworth (Warren Beatty, who also directed, wrote, and co-financed the film) is sick of saying the line “America is on the doorstep of the new millenium.” He is sick of his re-election campaign. He is sick of his daughter not coming to his events. So he gets $10 million worth of life insurance (with his daughter as the lone beneficiary) and puts a contract out on his own life. Knowing that he won’t live through the weekend he gives up talking spin, and starts to tell, and later rap the brutal truth. He tells a black community that they will never be a part of the government. He tells a group of Jewish filmmakers that most of what they make is crap. He spends the night getting jiggy with it at a nightclub in an ultra-violent neighborhood. And he begins to realize that life is good, and that he doesn’t want to die. But it’s not that easy stopping the hit man that is after him.
Bulworth’s Message: Politicians Tell Us Plain Spins
There is no clear explaniation for Bulworth’s behavior as it gets more and more outrageous, and there doesn’t need to be one. Bulworth simply suggests that what most politicians tell us is plain spin, and people might just like it if they were to start telling us the truth, brutal as it may be. Warren Beatty is wonderfully wacky here. It shows in his no-holds-barred script (what Bulworth likes most about politics is “the pussy” and his solution to racial problems is everyone “fucking each other until we are all the same color
And while it isn’t nearly as thought-provoking as Primary Colors, it’s message gets through and we are entertained. I only have one complaint — the ending is very much muddled. Otherwise, Beatty’s Bulworth is a beauty.