(US); 1998; Rated R; 108 Minutes
Warren Beatty: Jay Billington Bulworth
Halle Berry: Nina
Oliver Platt: Dennis Murphy
Don Cheadle: L.D.
Paul Sorvino: Graham Crocket
Jack Warden: Eddie Davers
Produced by Warren
Beatty, Pieter Jan Brugge, Frank Capra, Lauren Shuler-Donner
and Victoria Thomas; Directed and screenwritten by
by DAVID KEYES
taking anything into context about "Bulworth," at first
think of Warren Beatty, the creator, and wonder if, perhaps,
there something terribly wrong with him here. This is a
man whose been in some of the finest American films ever
made (i.e., "Bonnie And Clyde" and "Bugsy"), and so it comes
as quite a shock when his newest picture turns out to be
one of the worst of 1998. Yes, "Bulworth" features some
highly creative tastes, but even these tastes have their
limits, and what Warren Beatty does here is give us a film
that totally insults his profession and his audience by
taking these tastes beyond extremes. Unlike most critics,
I found "Bulworth" to be utterly nauseating--I do not find
anything amusing about a presidential candidate who one
day decides to insult his non-followers in hopes of gaining
publicity in his campaign.
I'm wrong. This CAN be a great setup for a movie. It can
be done wonderfully--perfectly, even. Yet, for some reason,
"Bulworth" does not do anything but tick audiences off with
its repetitive negative remarks to Catholics, African Americans,
and other groups which would consider this material to be
biased crap. And between these often-used lines from Beatty's
character himself, the movie is a boredom of disconnected
and ruthlessly dead scenes which would fit perfectly together
if the subject matter was not so tasteless and repugnant.
This material can be one of two things--good or bad. Not
mixed. Once the subject matter is unbalanced, so is the
whole movie, because it applies to every scene in the movie.
Therefore, if "Bulworth" were not so shallow and and cruel,
everything would have fit together perfectly and made a
observation is confusing, but you'll understand why I say
it later. Now the movie: it's one of the biggest disappointments
ever. Indeed, Beatty himself knows how to produce and direct
good films, but he's gone over his head this time. He's
a democratic Senator in California who, when running for
reelection to office, comes to the realization that his
campaign, his trend, and everything he stands for is all
a lie and a scam to the public. So, after taking out a life
insurance policy on himself and (for some demented reason)
hiring a hit man from the Mafia to put a bounty on his own
head, decides to give the public what they want--honesty.
And boy, his opinions are the most honest I've seen. He
uses racist remarks, cuss words, and other such lewd things
in all of his campaign speeches and interviews, to the point
where his image is an absolute poor one.
not like this is a bad idea, but Bulworth's remarks and
opinions are downright disturbing and offensive. Nothing
is entertaining about him slapping down mean words to his
public and his followers, and nothing is entertaining about
him cussing and screaming to get an audiences attention.
all gets to the point where Senator Bulworth's image begins
to get more popular and popular, all to the point where
Bulworth comes to the realization that, perhaps, he has
a chance at winning the election. He then attempts to relieve
the bounty on his head so he can live, but that's not an
easy task, considering that, after all, this is the Mafia
we are talking about.
story outline, like usual, is filled with subplots and twists,
all which are directly opposing forces in Bulworth's new
campaign. For one, he falls in love with a black woman named
Nina, played by Halle Berry, but what will this do to his
image? After all, he insults the African Americans. What
would his voters think?
tell you the truth, I didn't care. I was so overwhelmingly
mad at the way Bulworth handled his racial remarks that
every other thing sustained in the film's plot did not matter.
If the film's plot had been based on Shakespearean literature,
the movie still would have been displeasing, for the simple
fact that these negative remarks are downright mean and
offensive. Oh, racial stereotypes and similar things can
go good with movies, but even they have their limits, and
"Bulworth" crosses the line in every way. I cannot even
give the movie a half star rating--that's how intrusive
it is. A note to Warren Beatty: next time you want to insult
someone in such a way, insult yourself for doing this movie.
1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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