THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'
wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 06/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Who can say that motion pictures are not a mirror of the society ? When Frank Capra, during WW2, presented MR SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON or MR DEEDS GOES TO TOWN, it wasn't necessary for this director to give an explanation of the deep motivations which lead his heroes. Gary Cooper and James Stewart were idealistic guys whose actions please the audience's thirst for social justice. Now when Warren Beatty desires to shoot BULWORTH, he has to present a comedy if he doesn't want that the public considers his movie as a Disney product destined to the 10 years old audience. Jay Bulworth is going nuts because he hasn't anything to lose anymore. So why not tell the truth to the californian voters. BULWORTH is a public confession : Warren Beatty confesses to the world that he has always lied, that politics are made of this. BULWORTH is a bitter-sweet comedy : american people don't care. BULWORTH is a tragedy : he will be reelected. For sure Warren Beatty has had a great time writing BULWORTH. Who wouldn't have ? To tell, under the veil of a comedy, what you have kept hidden in your mind during years must be a real pleasure. Just think of the scene at the Hollywood moghuls' house. In my opinion, BULWORTH deserves to be considered as the best american movie of 1998 for his critical vision of a society looking for a lost ideal.A DVD zone your library."
A dirty word: socialism
Jack Felson | Paris, France | 05/23/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the most bitter, funniest and harshest movies in the 90's. Maybe the most. Warren Beatty, in his fourth film as a director - and his first one as a screenwriter - is great as this democrate, over-exhausted and desperate senator who turns crazy during his campaign and lets down the bla-bla-bla for some real talking.The beginning, in Washington, is depressive and real funny in the same time: Bulworth cries but he does it watching his own hypocrisy on the screen ('We stand on the doorstep of a new millenium...'). His marriage is a complete failure. Tired and desperate by his own life, disgusted by the empty, senseless and lying speeches prepared for him, he decides to get over all of this and puts a contract on... himself. Then he starts his campaign and arrives in L.A., first in South Central, the Black ghetto, and falls in love with a real beauty (Halle Berry, lately 'Academy-awarded'). He comes back to life and tries to cancel the 'research' he'd started but his contact has a heart attack...This very funny and inventive story was original enough for having being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1998, along with "Saving Private Ryan", "Life is beautiful" and "Shakespeare in Love". The film gives us many great and raving moments, especially that meeting that degenerates into a rap and hip-hop concert, and that broadcasted, hilarating, angry interview ('Obscenity?'). The soundtrack, 'rappy' and agressive (Dr. Dre, Ice Cube...), is quite unusual in a Hollywood great production, even if it mixes with Ennio Morricone's lyrical, superb partitions (what a great idea!) and with the usual political musical stuff.On the whole, Beatty makes us laugh as he shoots everything, especially the hard cynicism of the American political and business circles, showing the social and ecological failure of the system ('As long as we can drive a car, the whole planet can die'). He uses comedy and rap music - of course he (maybe) doesn't rap great, Mr. Kelly, but don't forget he's sixty! At his age, he makes a brilliant performance - to get his message through. And he does it so well, with so much strength that the movie was released with no rush and partly censored by the very studio which financed it. In Paris and suburbs, the movie was screened in only six theaters.But Bulworth doesn't care. He made it."
Scathingly funny political satire
Matthew Horner | USA | 03/28/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Once a prolific superstar, the still bankable Warren Beatty had made just nine movies in the last decade. Three of these have earned him three Oscar nominations and one win. In the 1970s and 1980s, he ranked among the top ten playboys in American. His conquests were legendary. Some of his movies were steamy by the standards of their time. Now over sixty years old, he seems more than happily married to Annette Bening. He has reached the point where he can make movies that interest him. Perhaps we should make that ones which amuse him.Bulworth may have been the most singularly eccentric big budget movie of 1998. It's about a politician, but whereas Primary Colors stayed within a defined framework, Bulworth is all over the map. Yet, depending on your sense of humor, it may be the funniest political satire you will see for some time to come.Beatty is Jay Billington Bulworth, a United States senator from California who is up for yet another term. The time is 1996. As the movie notes, Clinton is running unopposed, and Dole is definitely going to get the Republican nomination. The public is unaroused, which means that the political climate is completely status quo. Meanwhile, Bulworth is about to have one heck of a nervous breakdown.The reason Bulworth goes bananas is never specifically stated, but the implication is that the games, deceptions and deceits that make up modern politics have finally undone him. In deep despair, he gets ten million dollars worth of life insurance and promptly arranges for his own assassination. The next day, he changes his mind. He spends the rest of the moving running both for office and for his life. He goes to fund raisers and insults his wealthy backers. He attends a church in Compton and tells his black audience that they are never going to get any help from Washington, because lower income people are only exploited by the big businesses that pay to get politicians elected. He becomes outrageously incorrect politically. The media, of course, always looking for a hot story, embraces him.There's that hit man to be avoided. We see groups of reporters following Bulworth, who hasn't slept in days. A car backfires. Bulworth starts walking very fast, and then breaks into a run. The reporters run after him. This is a visual sight gag that is hysterical. Sometimes, he makes a getaway by driving off in his big black limo. Such a vehicle looks ridiculous in a chase scene, to say the least.Beneath the sometimes dark comedy, Bulworth has a lot of insightful and painful comments to may about our often hypocritical and ineffectual government. These observations are made satirically, but effectively. This is not a heavy-handed work.One thing that hampered Bulworth at the boxoffice was its portrayal of the man in the black community. People didn't get it. They were offended, especially many liberal white people. Beatty was in no way making fun of African-Americans by showing a very streetwise group. His point, which I thought was fairly obvious, was that many people will behave in an antisocial way in a society that is largely indifferent and often hostile towards them. I think that's almost a no-brainer. Bulworth is that rare politician who has soul.I have never been fond of politics, perhaps because I grew up around a lot of good old boy politicians. I have always enjoyed movies about politics, because they are almost invariably cynical. From 1939's classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to Bulworth, Hollywood has shown that the American people are wise to what really goes on. Why we do nothing about it is another question."
To Hell With What Spike Says...
Erren Geraud Kelly | 10/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I loved this movie when it came out. saw it and laughed uncontrollably as warren beatty's "j billington bullworth" went from jaded politician to a rejuvenated crusader. ok, so he doesnt rap great and a politican in real life probably wouldnt engage in an interracial relationship(much less go public with it ), but i'm glad he took on such subjects. its about time more filmmakers showed that government no longer works for the people, but for big business and special interests. i personally agree with bullworth that everyone should have sex with each other until we become one color. unfortunately, this movie was too deep and too cynical for mainstream america( it bombed at the box office !) but it deserves a second life on video. an underrated political classic"