Don't Count on "Recount"

Matt Lewis
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Posted: May 22, 2008 8:05 AM
Townhall's John Hanlon previewed "Recount" last night, and wasn't impressed.  Here are his thoughts:

Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with the Supreme Court decision that brought the 43rd President of the United States into the Oval Office, most can agree that the story of the 2000 recount was a riveting and extremely intense story, one with ample potential for movie-making possibilities. As two rival presidential campaigns fought to end up with 50% of the electoral college votes (plus 1), a captivated country watched intently as hours turned into weeks and hanging chads became a common term.

Unfortunately, HBO’s “Recount” (premiering this Sunday at 9 PM) fails to use the rich subject material effectively in its retelling of the story behind the Florida recount. Instead of depth and thoughtful insight into what happened during the highly-controversial period, the film instead relies on the media-driven superficialities of the whole situation, especially blatant in the portrayal of then-Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris by Laura Dern. This movie could have explored Harris’ motivations and mentality during the situation that brought her into the worldwide limelight but it instead makes her into an unfair caricature that has become the modus operandi for portrayals of the unsuccessful 2006 Senatorial candidate.[# More #]

Tom Wilkinson and Kevin Spacey are credible as the two main rivals representing the two camps, as each one fights for their chosen candidate to come out on top when all of the results are tallied but the movie never strives for greatness or to add much to the conversation about what really transpired behind the scenes during that tumultuous time. Instead of grappling with the larger story, the movie settles to serve as a reminder of a political battle that makes the Obama vs. Clinton skirmish look tame by comparison.

With the story behind it so compelling but the depth on screen so underwhelming, the film missed a great opportunity and for that, I for one demand something that not even Al Gore’s most fervent supporters would advocate these days.

Another “Recount.”