Movie Review: The Front Runner (2018)

I don’t think I have a handle on who Tommy Dewey is as an actor but he’s cute and does a good job so I was happy when the movie panned around the cast and he was there at the table. He feels like Nicholas Hoult but like, a discount Nicholas Hoult but over time you slowly decide that maybe you’re a Tommy person after all.

The cast in this movie was nicely and thoughtfully assembled.

Hugh Jackman somehow got younger and tackled the character like he wanted to do Gary Hart real justice as a full human. I keep waiting for him to be cast as something that doesn’t work out (of what I’ve seen him in) but whether it be superhero or politician it is clear that either he only takes roles he really feels right for or he is just that good at internalizing a script, or both.

The group of his campaign crew was a nice balance of interchangeable men who I could take or leave but who really worked together as a group to build the environment and flush out the world instead of pretending two people carry the whole story.

Sara Paxton is okay, I wasn’t thrilled with her but that’s likely because of the amount of attention they gave the character. They were right not to dive into her but it does make it harder for her to really deliver a character and give pertinent information and create conflict.

Mamoudou Athie is a standout performance for me. He really gels with Hugh Jackman during their scenes together. He also does a good job not just delivering a character but an entire feeling of reticence and hesitation which provides a nice contrast to the rest of the reporters around him.

Jenna Kanell is the other call-out I’m going to make. She plays a good part but she also provides a quality contrast to Sara Paxton’s role. In just a little screen time she subtly develops a relationship and executes a plan without having it detract from the story the movie was following. She never pushed her performance ahead of others on the screen but she still stands out. That could be because she is often the only woman or because she is actually one of the few characters with their own actions separate from the main events but she handles it well.

The plot is what it is. It’s based on real events. It’s translated into a script nicely but at some point I stop applauding good lines if someone probably actually said them. Good job Gary Hart for writing the basis for this, I guess, maybe? This isn’t a negative thing, it’s just that stories based on fact are either decent or bad, anything better than that is due to something besides the writing. This is a decent movie.

The choices made on what to keep in and what to cut were well made. I’m sure there were more talking scenes that were cut. Keeping in small things like the axe throwing scene is wonderful for setting characters. His team. Him. His approach. Etc.

For the most part this movie was very generically shot and edited. There was one scene transition where the tv was turned off while full screen that was nice but that’s the only thing that stood out.

Verdict: 4/5 A quality watch that may allow for political debates that aren’t along party lines. Actually safe for mixed company probably but could turn depending on opinions about privacy.


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