A chronicle of the weeks after the 2000 U.S. presidential election and the subsequent recounts in Florida.
Jay Roach (the "Austin Power" series, "Meet the Parents") doesn't seem the right director for a political-driven movie about one of the most controversial elections ever, but he did a good job in charge of this well-executed HBO production. "Recount" features solid performances all around, particularly Kevin Spacey as Ron Klain (Al Gore's recount point man) and Tom Wilkinson as James Baker (Bush's top recount strategist); Laura Dern seemed to have fun playing the ridiculously clueless (and potentially malevolent) Katherine Harris (Florida's Secretary of State), the woman who stopped the recount. The movie works for being wittily unbiased (Spacey's outburst scene: "You know what's funny? I don't even know if I like Al Gore... I just wanna know who actually won this f***ing election!" is pivotal, and his last conversation with Wilkinson/Baker is also a great point) and informative for those who have short-term memory (or were too young 8 years ago). We all know how it's gonna end, and the movie doesn't have the pretension of answering eternal questions like "Who really won the election and would have Al Gore been a better president?" We'll most likely never know the first, and can just wonder about the second. For better or worse, things would've been different had Bush lost, that's for sure. It might not be a solace, but that's the only truth we have, and the makers of "Recount" seem to be aware of that.
Michael Whouley: It?s pretty God damn hard when you're eighty something years old, you're arthritic, and you're blind as a fucking bat. Unfortunately for us, blind fucking bats tend to vote Democratic.
Kevin Spacey leads an all star cast of character actors in a movie produced by HBO, chronicling the weeks after the 2000 US presidential election and the drama involving the Florida recount.
Ron Klain: The plural of "chad" is "chad"?
Along with Spacey, Dennis Leary, Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt, Ed Begeley Jr., and Laura Dern all portray various figures on either political party who had to deal with the attempts to get an official recount and legal action for the improperly handled votes down in Florida.
While there are certainly elements enhanced for the sake of drama, the film remains very accurate and true to the incidents that occurred. The film also manages to be very engaging. It is a film about men arguing over pieces of paper, but I was enjoying it very much.
It is also helpful that the movie doesn't take a stern side against Bush in favor of Gore. While the movie certainly presents the way the situation occurred for the most part, the people involved on both sides are treated with respect.
Originally to be directed by Sydney Pollack, before eventually becoming to ill, Jay Roach, best known for directing the Austin Powers series as well as the Meet the Parents movies, does a very good job with the handling of this political drama that maintained my interest.
Ron Klain: You know what I wanna know?
Michael Whouley: Nope.
Ron Klain: I wanna know who won this fucking election. Who the fuck won?
A convoluted story to tell convincingly, let alone gracefully.
The main lesson of "Recount" is that democracy is only as good as the public servants operating it. Sad as it may seem, power is usually awarded not to those deserving but to those who fight the hardest, which has always been a weakness of the Democratic Party who brought a diplomat to a street fight. In such a tight election like that of 2000(Noam Chomsky theorized that this was because of the lack of differences between the two candidates), every little bit counts.