DVD Reviews

Game Change – Blu-ray Review

By Jeff Swindoll Jan 15, 2013, 21:32 GMT

Game Change – Blu-ray Review

Game Change is a searing, behind-the-scenes look at John McCain\'s 2008 presidential campaign, from the decision to select Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as McCain\'s running mate to the ticket\'s ultimate defeat in the general election just sixty days later. Told primarily through the eyes of senior McCain strategist Steve Schmidt, who originally championed Palin and later came to regret the choice, Game Change pulls back the curtain on the intense ...more

Politics are an ugly business.  A floundering campaign needs something to revive it and the person they choose does that but also brings her own troubles.  What can’t be argued is that Julianne Moore morphs into her subject so much that it earned her an Emmy.

John McCain’s (Ed Harris) in last place in the race for the GOP nomination.  He needs something to reinvigorate his campaign.  Strategist Steve Schmidt (Woody Harrelson) and manager Rick Davis (Peter MacNicol) know that their vice presidential candidate will either sink or reenergize the McCain run. 

Davis sees footage of Alaskan governor Sarah Palin (Julianne Moore) and thinks he has found the perfect person.  A quick examination of her background finds no troubles and a meeting makes her seem the right one to sweep McCain into the White House.  Yet some disastrous interviews make both Palin and the McCain managers doubt their choices. 

Politically you probably either love Sarah Palin or think she’s Satan herself.  So depending on your preference you’ll find both things that humanize and sympathize her, but you’ll also find ammo if you’re on the other side.  What cannot be denied is that Moore becomes Palin. 

Barack Obama and the opposition party are largely portrayed by real footage of them and there was one time when I thought that Palin was in essence playing herself but I realized that Moore had so embodied her that my brain fooled me. 

The film does come from Schmidt’s book, so it is obviously from his point of view (Palin’s camp has said no comment but McCain’s camp says both are inaccurate).  My sympathy for Palin comes from the fact that I don’t think she or anyone had any idea what she was in for.  I can only imagine what it’s like to be constantly berated and raked over the coals. 

To go from being interviewed by the Wasilla Times to getting beaten up by the big press certainly was a culture shock for her.  She did seem to excel in speechmaking and working the meet and greets more than the interviews.  I still keep going back to the fact that Moore so becomes Palin that you tend to forget that it’s not her. 

Harris perhaps not so much so, but he does add some Harris to McCain (I liked Harris/McCain better than the real one).  Even more surprising is that comedy director Jay Roach is the man pulling the directorial strings. 

Game Change is presented in a 1080p transfer (1.78:1).  Special features include the 7 minute “Creating a Candidate” has a host of people talking about what it takes to run for office in our modern age and the 4 minute “The Phenomenon” looks at adapting the book.  Sadly that is all. 

Game Change is fascinating to watch, both for showing the behind-the-scenes of a modern campaign (whether you think it accurate or not) and how the star inhabits the main character. 

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Further Reading on M&C

Barack Obama Biography - - Barack Obama Movies -
Ed Harris Biography - - Ed Harris Movies -
John McCain Biography - - John McCain Movies -
Julianne Moore Biography - - Julianne Moore Movies -
Sarah Palin Biography - - Sarah Palin Movies - Woody Harrelson Biography - - Woody Harrelson Movies -

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