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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Three quarters a classic
After just catching this film again on TV, I felt (again) like I'd just watched a film that was oh so close to registering as a bona fide classic but was let down by some over the top chest beating in the final reels.
The story has been laid out on this page, so I won't go over it again. For three quarters of the film you are watching a tightly plotted film with...
Published on 16 Nov 2004

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Painfully Two-Dimensional
This film is nothing short of what you might expect from an American "political" drama, where the good guys unrealistically triumph over baddies without having to get their hands too dirty in the process. Whilst on paper the premise of The Contender is interesting, its execution is regrettably flawed. As a result the film merely offers the audience an overly obnoxious...
Published 15 months ago by Curtis B


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Three quarters a classic, 16 Nov 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Contender [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
After just catching this film again on TV, I felt (again) like I'd just watched a film that was oh so close to registering as a bona fide classic but was let down by some over the top chest beating in the final reels.
The story has been laid out on this page, so I won't go over it again. For three quarters of the film you are watching a tightly plotted film with truly stand out dialogue and acting of the highest class. Bridges is perfect as the Clinton-esque president, Oldman has a whale of the time as the puritanical and self motivated (and fantastically named) Sheldon Runyon while Allen again shows herself to be one of the top actresses working today as the stoic and morally bound Laine Hanson.
With all of these actors on top form, and other performances from Sam Elliott, Christian Slater, William Petersen amongst others lighting up linking scenes, the film moves smoothly along. It is a great shame then that all the good build up work is let down by (without giving too much away) a ridiculously unlikely twist spun by a central character, and a flag waving finale which contrasts completely with the calm and excellently made arguments brought before it, not to mention the sensational confrontations that litter the film.
Certainly worth watching, this is a film that we can assume was influenced by Hollywood's need for a barnstorming finish, which is ironic considering the subject matter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars To Be Or Not To Be, 13 Oct 2014
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Contender [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
Somehow I missed this film, but found it on Amazon's Prime list. This is a film that has outstanding performances by its actors. It certainly takes sides politically, which is quite obvious, and if you can't look at the film in an objective manger, than this may be a difficult film for you.

The film is liberal and Democratic, and the protagonist conservative and Republican. It appears that this film shows a feminine side of 'a sex scandal'. A Vice President has died in office, and after three weeks, the country is clam outing for a replacement. The President, played by Jeff Bridges has several choices. One is a governor who has become a hero by trying to save a drowning woman from a car accident. The problem is, the President tells Gov. Hathaway, played by William Petersen, is that the woman died. Sorry, next. sen. Laine Hanson, played by Joan Allen, is the perfect candidate until a sex scandal tries to derail her. GOP Rep. Shelly Runyon, played by Gary Oldman, in a remarkable performance does not like women in power and will use whatever device he can to bring her down. Old an plays this powerful character, either eating, drinking or smoking. And, his curly hair trying to hide a bald spot is the best I have seen. His is the performance to watch.

The mechanisms that run DC are very powerful in this film. All the deals and lies and deceit pike up except for Sen. Hanson, who will not play games nor lie. Is this the real DC, I very much doubt it, but I enjoyed this film. This is a film to observe actors, the political scheme may detract you, but go for the action and the performances.

Recommended. prisrob 10-13-14
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Painfully Two-Dimensional, 30 Aug 2013
This review is from: The Contender [DVD] (DVD)
This film is nothing short of what you might expect from an American "political" drama, where the good guys unrealistically triumph over baddies without having to get their hands too dirty in the process. Whilst on paper the premise of The Contender is interesting, its execution is regrettably flawed. As a result the film merely offers the audience an overly obnoxious President who decides to nominate a woman to be his vice president in order to cement his own legacy, much to the chagrin of Gary Oldman's character. Throw in some clumsy dialogue and the ubiquitous Damascene Conversion and you have yourself a typical American film.

However what separates this from just being any ordinary B-Film, is its approach towards women. Whilst I personally find the notion of shattering the glass ceiling laudable, the decision to select the woman candidate is merely on the whims of a frankly irresponsible President, who spends more time bowling and trying to catch out his kitchen staff than actually running the country. As a consequence he merely chooses her as a means of promoting himself, rather than selecting a candidate on merit, which you would expect in such a situation. Not to mention the fact that all of the characters remain painfully Two-Dimensional, there is no middle ground in terms of characterisation: If you're a Republican you're bad, whereas if you're a Democrat you're good - It's essentially the old spaghetti western approach of black and white hats. It's this sort of characterisation that you expect from a child's film, where whenever the baddy comes on the screen there is a dramatic shift in the music. Moreover the films only saving grace is Gary Oldman, the baddy that we are meant to hate, which typifies his chameleon approach to characterisation.

Furthermore this film seems to act more as spring board for the ideological beliefs of the filmmakers operating out of a vacuum, rather than realistically representing the political climate of US politics as it simply casts the Democrats as the heroes that will always win, which merely does them a disservice.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gary Oldman impresses in political drama., 29 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Contender [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
The premise of "The Contender" is that the president (Jeff Bridges) is seven years in office and is desperate to be remembered for something worthwhile. His Vice President has the good grace to die on him which gives Bridges the opportunity to appoint a replacement. The favourite for the job is however ruled out and the attention then focuses on Sen. Lane Hanson (Joan Allen) the Prez seizes the moment and puts her forward for the job. However there is a fly in the ointment in the shape of a vicious and sneering congressman(played to perfection by Gary Oldman) he is totally determined to stop Hanson at all costs. The scenes involving Oldman and Allen are the best part of this movie and the supporting cast in the shape of William Peterson and Christian Slater impress.
There are two problems with this film one is the performance of Jeff Bridges who as the President seems more interested in ordering more and more outlandish types of snacks from the kitchen than running the country, and the cack handed "twist" ending.
Those aside it is Gary Oldman who shines as the vicious congressman in one the best make up jobs Hollywood has done in the last five years.
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4.0 out of 5 stars who says politics is boring!, 26 Jan 2008
By 
Cng "Furball" (Essex , Uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Contender [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
Senator Laine Hanson (Joan Allen) is selected as the nominee for Vice President after the incumbent's death.
But she is opposed by Congressman Runyon (Gary Oldman) who uses rumours of sexual hijinks in her past to smear her.
This film takes the moral high ground that a man would just laugh this off as one of the boys & portrays the resultant political skullduggery on both sides.
Ok so the end is a bit tub thumping & Jeff Bridges as the president doesn't do much apart from order food & the final scene.
But as the US President is kind of a god/king selected from amongest the people, then if you gave him anything more he'd end up dominating the entire film.
Which would mean that you wouldn't be able to appreciate the sterling work done by Joan Allen, Gary Oldman, William Petersen & Sam Elliott.
This isn't up to the standard of the West Wing but as a film it doesn't have the time to explore all the aspects to the same degree.
Give The Contender a chance & you'll enjoy it but don't expect The Prince.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good political film with Gary Oldman at his most devious., 12 Jan 2008
This review is from: The Contender [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
I hate starting this with the weakest links but to me the part of Jeff Bridges was by far too nice as "Mr.President" and really Joan Allen was a bit too wishy/washy as the incumbent Vice-President,Senator Laine Hanson.I think it called for the Presidents character to be much harder to mirror the real life Presidents I can remember from JFK onwards, to mirror the person necessary to withstand the pressures of the number 1 job. All Bridges did through this film was test out the White House chef and culinary staff. Again Allen was a bit too weak and I think perhaps her part could have been beefed up a little.Gary Oldman is excellent as Shelly Runyon, digging the dirt on Hanson whilst trying to get "his man" in (played against type brilliantly by William Petersen of CSI)until a surprise befalls them both at the last hurdle? Good support from Christian Slater, Sam Elliot and Philip Baker Hall with reminiscences of Chapaquiddick thrown in for those with a good memory.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well acted and thought-provoking, 21 Jan 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Contender [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This is a gripping story examining the American political process in the age of spin. Joan Allen is excellently difficult to read as Jeff Bridge's preferred vice-presidential candidate whose past and private life come under hostile scrutiny. Her refusal on principle to confirm or deny allegations about her past play into the hands of her superbly manipulative opponent, played by a dogged Gary Oldman. The acting is compelling, the deal-making all too believable and the questions raised about what makes a person fit to govern, and whether appearance now matters more than substance are not easily answered. I only wish that all US presidents could be as wise(and attractive!)as Jeff Bridges!
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4.0 out of 5 stars excellent feminist take on the liberal Whitehouse genre, 5 Aug 2007
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This review is from: The Contender [DVD] [2001] (DVD)
Extremely highly principled film about a woman's position at the highest levels of the american political system. Jeff Bridges displays an utterly plausible presidential gravitas. Joan Allen is superb in her adherence to her principles and arguably iconic as a woman standing tall in an inevitably masculine environment but without sacrificing her genuine femininity and womanhood; "she walks tall without the aid of heels". Gary Oldman is a commendably unpleasant McCarthyite figure (and delivers a brilliant american accent - seems to be a mark of a thesp's acting ability, this trans-atlantic exchange).

Very absorbing commentary.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Contender-worth a look., 27 Sep 2014
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A bit lacking in cred. Bridges is a savvy President, who eventually manages to screw the baddie (Oldman) to get a woman VP. She stands on principle, and is admirable for it, but is a bit girly and soft for the sort of dragon a woman would have to be to be the first woman VP. I think she was more convincing as Pamela Landy ( Bourne). Oldman is nearly as over-the-top as he was in the Fifth Element, but is good value as a villain. Music from the "Grand America" genre a la Clear And Present Danger.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Jeff Bridges places a great power hungry President, 27 Sep 2014
By 
Mr. Philip G. Smith "PGS" (Chester UK) - See all my reviews
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Average storyline. Jeff Bridges places a great power hungry President. Sam Elliot as the Chief of Staff is brilliantly mercenary. The ending is a bit "virtuous" especially for American politics. Not sure any politician would endure that sort of public humiliation for their family for such an allegation.
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The Contender [DVD] [2001]
The Contender [DVD] [2001] by Rod Lurie (DVD - 2001)
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