The Front Runner (2018)
Title: The Front Runner
Genre: Biography | Drama |
Runtime: 113 min
Director: Jason Reitman
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons
American Senator Gary Hart’s presidential campaign in 1988 is derailed when he’s caught in a scandalous love affair.
CASTING A GOOD LIGHT ON UNFORTUNATELY SOMETHING WE ALREADY KNOW.
To start, I must admit that I’m a real sucker for a good political movie, such as Lincoln (2012) and The Post (2017). Most kind of films don’t need much of explosive actions and cool ef-fects, only to display the good of the human mind and what it can accomplice with its fire burning will. To describe it with simple terms, its all about the characters and dramatic situa-tions which occur when two individuals verbally goes to battle. This movie has a lot of it, but instead of two people arguing the state of politics, we have Hugh Jackman as presidential candidate Gary Hart defending his private love life against the media’s hunger to bring his infidelity to light. We as the audience get to follow Hart in middle of his presidential cam-paign where we get to see and feel the hardship which he get to go through which includes; pain, hate, love, drive, betrayal and of course desire and impulse, the very two things which get him in trouble. Derailing him from being the front runner.
The moral question of this movie is, if a man’s morally and practically flaws is the same. Can a man lead and keep his country together when he doesn’t even can take care about his mar-riage? The media surreally don’t think so meanwhile Hart does. A thrilling story which ask good questions, but I think is a little bit too late for its time. Everybody who watched the last American presidential election for sure didn’t miss the countless times the candidate’s moral stands was questioned. I don’t say that a candidate’s private life should dictated if he is fit for the office, but I’m saying that is the first thing the media and we the people, dispute.
Not everybody is agreeing with it, but it have become part of the political process that’s why I think that the premise of the film is outdated (or too weak to make the impact it wants). It would have fit more perfect if it as made in the 90s for example, when this kind of thinking was at its infinite point. Because I already have made up my mind the premise is not challeng-ing. This kind of events taking place in the story is too ordinary now and then.
The thing that keep me watching the movie, is mostly the human dynamic because the good cast of actors. Hugh Grant and Vera Farmiga play of each other so good at the end, when the scandal comes to light, it gives me chills. A long-lasting love couple who just trying to keep it together but must daily fight the media chaos and Hart’s problem to handle it. The rest of the cast are also terrific, if it wasn’t because of them, the movie would fall even after the title card.
The production overall is very good. The costume and scenography really throw us back to the 1980s. The camera not only shows the characters emotions and desires but also lead them, for example with long shots and clever sound design. It has all the productions materials to make a solid period-biography film. I think the movie have clear goal and good execution but it a little bit too late. It would have fitted more as indie film which would have made a greater impact.
Richard Bengtsson | Journalist.