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The Contender wears its political heart on its sleeve, but strong performances and a solid screenplay help the end result add up to a gripping drama from either side of the aisle. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

When the sitting Vice President dies, Senator Laine Hanson is chosen by the President to be the first woman to hold the office. The selection meets with opposition from members of both parties, in particular a powerful political adversary who will seemingly stop at nothing to discredit her. Her confirmation hearings set off a firestorm of controversy as shocking secrets from Hanson's past are revealed, threatening her personal life as well as her political future.

Cast & Crew

Joan Allen
Laine Hanson
Gary Oldman
Shelly Runyon
Jeff Bridges
President Jackson Evans
Sam Elliott
Kermit Newman
Christian Slater
Reginald Webster
William Petersen
Gov. Jack Hathaway
Philip Baker Hall
Oscar Billings
Saul Rubinek
Jerry Toliver
Rod Lurie
Director
Rainer Bienger
Executive Producer
Maurice Leblond
Executive Producer
Gary Oldman
Executive Producer
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News & Interviews for The Contender

Critic Reviews for The Contender

All Critics (130) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (99) | Rotten (31)

Audience Reviews for The Contender

  • Sep 02, 2010
    Rod Lurie's "The Contender" is a well made political thriller that focuses on Rebulican turned Democrat Laine Hanson(Joan Allen) as the new appointed VP. Things strart to turn ugly for Hanson, a man named Shelly Runyon(Gary Oldman) does not feel Hanson should be up for the job as the next Vice President. Runyon will find anything in his means to put an end to Hanson political career. Inside sources has managed to find explicit footage of Hanson engage in an sexual romp during her youthful college days(Uh-oh) which leads to a media-televised investigation. There is an intense meeting in The White House involving Democratic U.S. President Jackson Evans (Jeff Bridges) and his right hand man Chief of Staff Kermit Newman(Sam Elliot)and Hanson. The two men want Hanson to confess but Allen is strong and would rather lose her VP nomination rather then making her personal private life anybody's business. Another great scene at the Presidential party, where you have all the characters finally meeting at the oval office. Jackson Evans puts all the pieces together all the pieces thanks to an impressive dossier by secret agent Special Agent Paige Willomina (Katheryn Morris). Lurie's film is one of those pictures that makes you want to debate and ask questions after. The dialogue is funny yet wicked. This is a really great film.
    Brian R Super Reviewer
  • Sep 02, 2010
    A decent, if very flawed and Hollywood-ized political thriller concerning the President (Jeff Bridges) having to fill the void of Vice President, and deciding between a very well-respected governor (William L. Peterson), and a woman senator (Joan Allen) with an apparent dark past. This movie has all the ingredients to be a smash - Joan Allen at her finest, Jeff Bridges having fun as the President, Gary Oldman playing sleazy, heck even Sam Elliott is a key part of the whole thing, sadly the movie falls flat on its face at its ridiculously over-the-top finale that left me feeling betrayed. While it pulls some twists that are original and somewhat conceivable, the last 5 minutes of the movie turn this film from being a respectable political thriller into an okay but unsatisfying movie that decided to get too dramatic instead of sticking with the subtle but effective card it played so well for most of the story. Not horrible, but certainly skip-able.
    Dan S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 29, 2010
    Some say when your in the public eye your no longer are entitled to your privacy that you must live a life that is essentially perfect and without scandal. this is especially true for politicians who have had more scandals under them than actors, lawyers and Presidents. So most politicians due what they must they hid the truth and lie about there past, they lie so they can do what they have always wanted to to do serve there Country. But some of them get lost along the way and lose sight of what they original got into politics for. So I ask you this what happens when you take a seemingly squeaky clean senator(Joan Allen), a contender for the vice presidency and dig into her past to uncover a shocking and lurid truth that will break the backs of the higher Archy of the nation's political system. You get what most would call the lying game Laine Hanson's(Joan Allen) case she takes on playing the solitary game a game few have ever won.
    C.R. L Super Reviewer
  • Mar 18, 2010
    <i>"Sometimes you can assassinate a leader without firing a shot."</i> Sexy secrets from a womans past come to light as she runs for Vice President. <center><font size=+2 face="Century Schoolbook"><b><u>REVIEW</u></b></font></center> Political imbroglio drama with a what if premise: What if the first nominee for Vice President of the United States had an indecent sexual past leading to her character in question vilification by the select committee in appointing her? Loaded with potboiler red herrings and questionable attacks on loyalty are just a few of the gaping holes in this heavy handed but extremely well acted morality play thanks largely to the always solid Allen as the stolid, uncompromising candidate in question who will not kowtow to the powers that be including the equally on target Oldman (in a Farrelly Brothers' inspired hairstyle) as her chief nemesis and Bridges as the folksy, yet smarter than he appears Commander in Chief.
    Lorenzo v Super Reviewer

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