I love political movies and television.
I grew up watching the west wing and love that Sorken style fast paced political dramady. Upon reading about Knife Fight I was excited to see that it was directed by Bill Guttentag. Mr. Guttentag is an award magnet for his documentary features and I am a huge fan of Nanking. Unfortunately Mr. Guttentag’s previous feature fell very flat when I saw it a few years ago (Live starring Eva Mendz). With Live! The satire was interesting but the execution was par from the mark. Would that same be true with Knife Fight?
If a political candidate is personally flawed, but stands to make a positive difference in millions of lives, would you help him win? That question looms over the life of “true believer” Paul Turner (Rob Lowe), a savvy strategist sharply maneuvering politicians out of scandal and into public office. With the help of a bright young assistant (Jamie Chung) and a seedy operative (Richard Schiff), Turner spins every news cycle and a shrewd reporter (Julie Bowen) on behalf of his clients: a philandering Kentucky governor (Eric McCormick), a blackmailed California senator (David Harbour), and an idealistic doctor turned gubernatorial candidate (Carrie-Anne Moss). When the ugly side of Turner’s work begins to haunt him, he learns that even in the bloodiest of battles, sometimes you have to fight clean.
I wanted to like this movie so much more than I actually did.
That is not saying that I disliked it I just thought it was kind of par for course. There are moments in the film that are unceasingly slow and predictable. This film didn’t feel nearly as effortless as other recent political movies and programming. This film’s script is long winded and annoyingly liberal refusing to review both sides of the coin. I get that this film is a satire but it just takes its agenda far too seriously to be truly effective as a satire.
What truly saves the film is a series of amazing performances turned by Rob Lowe and the rest of the cast including Jamie Chung. Lowe is incredible here, he effortlessly carries this picture while nailing his performance. His character comes off like a scumbag at times and sometimes is a saint. Also all the actors who play the politicians are amazing here charismatic scumbags to perfection. Although I really wasn’t feeling Carrie Ann Moss, really just a lack luster performance and kind of phoned in.
Unfortunately the DVD lacked any significant special features.
For “Knife Fight” to have been a success, it simply had to be smarter than it is and more committed to taking chances. Extremely lightweight, I won’t remember anything about this in a few months.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Overall: 2.5 charismatic Rob Lowe’s out of 5
Review by Bro “B” – Ben
We received a copy of this title for our book review. All opinions are our own
Knife Fight is available on Amazon.com.