Directed by Jay Roach
Written by Danny Strong
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Denis Leary, Laura Dern, Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt, Ed Begly, Jr., Bob Balaban, Bruce McGill
Release Year: 2008
IMDB rating: 7.6

Another movie with political theme, Recount was distributed by HBO and won 3 Emmy Awards for outstanding made-for television movie, directing for a miniseries, movie or a dramatic special (Jay Roach), and single-camera picture editing for a miniseries or movie. Laura Dern won the Golden Globe Award for her role as Katherine Harris (best supporting actress in a series, mini-series or TV film). The film focused on the dispute over the results of presidential election in the state of Florida in 2000, how the Democrats struggled to get a recount while the Republicans struggled to defend the initial results of the vote.

While the events were real, some elements of the movie were fictionalized, according to Jay Roach. Regardless of this fact, however, I really enjoyed watching it. Just like W., the power of this movie lies in the performance of the entire cast. Although I must admit that Recount was better in setting up the plot. I could feel the suspense leading to that fateful decision by the Supreme Court. The movie clearly tilted towards the Democrats. This went on throughout most of the film, but in the end I felt that the balance of favor was restored.

Despite Kevin Spacey played the lead role as Ron Klain, I felt more impressed with Tom Wilkinson and John Hurt’s performances. Yes, Hurt’s screen time was rather short, but his portrayal as Warren Christopher was absolutely great, and this was perfectly matched by Tom Wilkinson’s portrayal of James Baker, the one took the lead in the Republicans in dealing with the recount issue. Laura Dern was the only actress that made significant impression in the movie. Her role as Katherine Harris was outstanding and surely enjoyable. Another top performer was Ed Begley, Jr. who played as David Boies. Although entering the stage halfway into the movie, his play was great. Bruce McGill who played George Tenet in W. played as Mac Stipanovich here, a Republican lobbyist. His was a good one, but it was a minor role in the movie, just like Bob Balaban’s role as Ben Ginsberg.

Again, the power of this movie lies in the acting performance, with top performers like Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt, and Laura Dern. Additionally, the pace set for it made it a better movie than W. In the end, I remembered when Ron Klain asked James Baker that whether the right man won, and Baker said yes. That question posed other questions: “What would have happened had Al Gore won Florida?”, “Would the economy slumped like what it happening today?”, “Would 9/11 ever happened?”, “If 9/11 happened, would Gore invade Iraq in retaliation or would he invade Afghanistan instead?”, and perhaps the core question: “Would Gore be a better president than W.?”. All these questions must have lingered at least once on most people after watching Recount. Unfortunately, those questions have nothing but hypothetical answers.

I give this movie an 8.5.

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