Knife Fight (2013)
If a political candidate is personally flawed, but stands to make a positive difference in millions of lives, would you help him win? That question looms over the life of "true believer" Paul Turner (Rob Lowe), a savvy strategist sharply maneuvering politicians out of scandal and into public office. With the help of a bright young assistant (Jamie Chung) and a seedy operative (Richard Schiff), Turner spins every news cycle and a shrewd reporter (Julie Bowen) on behalf of his clients: a philandering Kentucky governor (Eric McCormick), a blackmailed California senator (David Harbour), and an idealistic doctor turned gubernatorial candidate (Carrie-Anne Moss). When the ugly side of Turner's work begins to haunt him, he learns that even in the bloodiest of battles, sometimes you have to fight clean. (c) IFC Films … More
as Paul Turner
as Peaches O'Dell
as Larry Lincoln Becker
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Critic Reviews for Knife Fight
A fun, tack-sharp political drama with satirical underpinnings, buoyed by crisp characterizations.
It could have been an incisive counterpoint to a film like "The Ides of March." Instead, it's a forgettable series of bullet points barely strung together by charismatic performances.
For all the knowing monologues mentioning tax breaks for the rich and diet drinks for the poor, Knife Fight feels squeaky-clean -- a remedial spin class that tells more than it shows.
Lowe's Paul is slimy, but, lo and behold, we are supposed to believe that he smells like a rose. He really wants to make the world a better place. His sentiments may be genuine but they come across as a con.
Smart, brisk political satire, so smoothly done and performed that it overrides certain weaknesses and a climactic sentimental face change.
Another clichéd story of a cynic who gets in touch with his inner idealist..Movies like this give political satire a bad name.
An improbable fantasy in which the people who make political advertising emerge as chisel-jawed heroes of democracy.
Whether playing it sleazy or noble, Mr. Lowe brings little emotional weight to his role.
Soulless and two-dimensional, Knife Fight is a black hole of disillusion and spin.
U.S. politics provides more than ample fodder for sharply observed satire. Someone needs to tell Guttentag that requires a scalpel, not a dull-edged butter knife.
Though everyone's intentions seem honorable, this limp political satire overshoots its targets almost every time.
A mixed bag, offering a few winning performances and moments of revelation, while the rest scatters aimlessly, in search of structure director Bill Guttentag doesn't provide.
Everyone from Eric McCormack's caricature of a Southern candidate to Julie Bowen's celebrity newscaster are simply straw men for writer-director Bill Guttentag's argument that elections are a dirty business ...
With so many characters and so many issues, Knife Fight seems overlong, but it's still above and beyond most movies that try to puncture the balloons of political hypocrisy. The writing is sometimes awkward, but the actors are uniformly convincing.
Bill Guttentag exaggerates the absurd lengths advisors go to win an election and yet ultimately aggrandizes their behavior.
Audience Reviews for Knife Fight
In "Knife Fight," Paul Turner(Rob Lowe) is an expert political fixer based in California. Currently, he has to get Stephen Green(David Harbour), a client and current US Senator, through a sex scandal while being unaware of Kentucky Governor Larry Becker(Eric McCormack), another client, fooling around. That leaves him little time to listen to Dr. Penelope Nelson(Carrie-Anne Moss) who wants to run for governor of California.
"Knife Fight" has certain things going for it, including a good cast, especially a charismatic Rob Lowe in the lead and Saffron Burrows who steals whatever brief scenes she is in. And it does make some good points about the way campaigns focus on sex instead of the issues, while admittedly not bringing up anything about campaign financing. Just as Paul lectures Penelope rightfully about politics being a knife fight, he somehow fails to bring up that unless one is really, really privileged, one should not start out one's political career on the state level. That's not to mention the movie failing to adequately juggle its three storylines nor making much sense in the end..
Rob Lowe's performance is the best reason to check out this film. It's been awhile since I have seen Rob in a really good role in a good film. I am happy he is back with this one. The film reminded me of movies like Wag the Dog, Primary Colors, and Swing Vote. The film is predictable but I found it very entertaining.
Eric McCormack also does a great supporting job here. So does Carrie Anne Moss, Richard Schiff, and Jamie Chung.
I definitely recommend this film.
This political thriller directed by Bill Guttentag and co-written with Chris Lehane is a story of a political strategist and his life. It stars Rob Lowe, Jamie Chung and Richard Schiff, all three perfectly casted in a movie which won't bring you anything new but has enough good stuff to keep you happy watching it until the end .
The drama follows a political strategist (played by Rob Lowe) and his assistant (Chung) as they navigate a trio of election campaigns rife with cheating husbands, blackmail and even an actual knife fight. Our hero is successfully juggling all three clients and very often questions whether or not to take the high road... while the ugly side of his work begins to haunt him. We can see how politics is really played... forget what you think how it should be - it is NEVER happening that way. Take any of the politicians (even Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln or John F. Kennedy) and ask why are some of them the United States' most adored individuals... maybe because they were masters at the art of juggling politics and personal lives while keeping an image for the masses.
Best performance was undoubtedly given by Jamie Chung, who is competitive by nature, and has finally proven that she can handle mouthfuls of dramatic dialogue or "something smart," as she calls it. It is a movie for all her fans, but do not expect that it will puncture the balloons of political hypocrisy.
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