Game Change Blu-ray Review
The 2008 US Presidential Election will be remembered for two things. First, that for the first time an African American was his party’s nominee. Second, that for a brief moment there was a flash of lightning named Sarah Palin.
August 2008. As it becomes clear that Senator John McCain (Harris) will be the Republican candidate for President he and his staff begin a search for a suitable running mate. McCain wants Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman. Currently an Independent, Lieberman was the Democratic Vice-President candidate with Al Gore in 2000. McCain’s handlers tell him it’s too big a risk. They run down all of the possible running mates (Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty) but tell McCain that, if their numbers are correct, none of them will lead to a victory. They need to think outside the box…more outside the Lieberman. McCain understands. “Get me a woman,” is his response.
Packed with outstanding performances, GAME CHANGE is a must see film that gives a real inside look at the world of politics and how, no matter how well prepared you think you are, that world will eat you up. Director Roach, who also directed the brilliant look at the 2000 election, RECOUNT, but also last years Will Ferrel/Zack Galifianakis comedy THE CAMPAIGN has a way with staging his political films almost like they were documentaries. GAME CHANGE is based on portions of the book of the same name, written by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, long time political journalists. The script, by Danny Strong, shows unexpected sides of both McCain and Palin, making them seem much more human than they do in 30 second sound bites. McCain shows a strong sense of humor, whether it’s watching a YouTube video of former candidate John Edwards admiring his haircut or taking Palin’s constant gaffes in good stride. Of course, it helps to have someone as talented as Ed Harris in the role. Equally good is Moore as Palin. She nails the former Governor’s look and speech but also gets inside the character, making us feel sorry for her even when she doesn’t deserve our sympathy. Scenes where Palin watches herself being mocked by Tina Fey on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE or having to hear the late night talk shows make fun of her pregnant daughter make this Mama Bear strangely vulnerable. Also strong is Harrelson, who plays Steve Schmidt, the man behind McCain’s campaign. He has the thankless job of buffering between McCain and Palin, as well as acting incredulous every time Palin misspeaks (she doesn’t know why North and South Korea are separate countries, believes the Queen is the head of state in England and that Sadaam Hussein was responsible for 9/11). If Schmidt wasn’t bald he’d have pulled his hair out more than once.
GAME CHANGE was nominated for an incredible 12 Emmy Awards, winning 5, including Outstanding Movie or Mini-Series. In the same category it also won for Director, Screenplay, Actress (for Moore) and it’s casting. No matter how you voted or if your state is red or blue, for a very in depth look into the world of politics, you can’t go wrong with GAME CHANGE.
Video: Presented in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, the picture is fine. Some darkness when real footage is mixed in with the film, especially in the crowd and convention scenes.
Audio: The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio5.1 The sound is clear and clean, though, with the exception of the convention, there really isn’t a lot of background chatter to be muddled.
Creating a Candidate (7:26): GAME CHANGE authors Halperin and Heilemann are joined by other political talking heads to discuss running for office during the time of the 24 hour news cycle. A fascinating subject, worthy of much more than seven minutes.
Game Change: The Phenomenom (4:26): a very disappointing short, basically telling the viewer how, even though the entire novel covers everyone from President Obama to Hilary Clinton only the section featuring Palin was chosen to film.