The Runner Blu-ray Review
It’s ironic that I watch this on the heels of finishing up the current three seasons of HOUSE OF CARDS. To me, HOUSE OF CARDS is a sufficient political thriller, but with plenty of dumb moments that create a sense of unbelievability behind its believable setting, political corruption. THE RUNNER has a lot of the same elements, but instead of being a guilty pleasure wrapped in a political drama, it’s a contrived mess.
Louisiana Congressman Colin Price (Cage) is a seemingly good man. He fights for the little guy and gets the perfect opportunity to fight for the little guy, the 2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill. Price would be a lot more likeable, but Cage ruins the character with a southern accent that has grown considerably weaker since his hokey southern accent in CON-AIR. Price’s good intentions are a bit clouded because he has his eye on a bigger price, a Senate seat in Washington D.C. So it’s a bit difficult to surmise what Price’s end game is. Is he actually fighting for the everyday man or if he’s simply running a campaign that’s aesthetically pleasing to the common voter?
THE RUNNER reveals Price’s inner demons, without revealing who Price truly is, via a sex scandal. It derails his hopes and his favorability plummets much like Bill Clinton’s approval rating after the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The scandal, Price and a young fitness instructor, is made worse when it’s revealed that she is married to a fisherman that Price claims he is fighting for. Ouch.
It seems to mistake coincidence for plucking at our heartstrings because it tries so hard to make us feel sorry for the well-intentioned politician, but as I stated earlier, his truest of intentions aren’t quite revealed, and never really are. It’s a classic fallen from grace hero who attempts to redeem himself in the eyes of his friends and family. But what would have made the story more interesting is his redemption within his own mind and his own eyes. The internal struggle is far more interesting than the exterior one, but THE RUNNER doesn’t want to.
The only interesting thing that THE RUNNER manages to do is deliver an interesting message about the political system that is currently taking shape. Despite the hard work and kind-hearted soul, we will only focus on the negatives, even when they’re unimportant in the grand scheme of things. This would make a lot more sense if it had not introduced the sour aspect behind Price’s adulterous fling.
I mentioned HOUSE OF CARDS at the beginning and how it’s a guilty pleasure. I know it’s not a great show, but its simple sugar amongst all the gritty dramas. In HOUSE OF CARDS, the viewer constantly wonders how low our protagonist, Francis Underwood, is willing to sink. In THE RUNNER, it seems like the lowest Price will sink is his scandal and the highest he’ll achieve is that senate seat. Not necessarily compelling, even if we are to accept that this is far from a good movie.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:40:1) The crisp presentation highlights the sterile look of political buildings, but picks up on the vibrant swamps of Louisiana.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) A dialogue driven movie deserves audio clarity and that’s exactly what you get on this blu-ray.