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Friday, September 7, 2012

The Campaign

"War has rules, mud wrestling has rules - politics has no rules." -  Ross Perot

Executive Producers: Amy Sayres, Jon Poll and Chris Henchy.
Producer: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Jay Roach and Zach Galifianakis. 
Director: Jay Roach.
Starring: Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis 
Screen play: Shawn Harwell and Chris Henchy, from a story by Adam McKay & Chris Henchy & Shawn Harwell
Distributed by: Warner Brothers.

Every four years, there will be political films coming out from the United States with their Presidential Elections. In 2008, among others, we had "W", about the outgoing President George W Bush, produced and directed by Oliver Stone; and "Frost Nixon", by Ron Howard for Universal Pictures. 

"The Campaign" is yet another one of such films that attempts to shed some light over the darker side of US Elections, this time by using the brutal punches of slapstick comedy, sex and the championing of the American underdog.  This they did well with the unimpressive and naive local tour guide Marty Huggins  (Zach Galifianakis) who eventually came out on top, against the flamboyant long time Congressman and philanderer Cam Brady (Will Ferrell), over their North Carolina 14th district. All these apparently a direct poke at real life Senator John Edwards from North Carolina and Democratic Vice President nominee in 2004, and Presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008

The plot centres around the battle between Marty and Cam, utilising the dirtiest of personal attacks  that  exploit family and sex scandals, the whole deal funded by big corporation money, facilitated by the Motch brothers, purported a satire of the real life wealthy Koch brothers.

The story depicts how an honest and unlikeliest possible choice like Marty can be, with the help of his new benefactors’ support and a ruthlessly sharp campaign manager, can too be converted into a mean, calculating and cunning beast. This climaxes with Marty literally shooting his opponent down with a cross bow.

As election day closes in, the plot thickens and so are the insults that quickly escalate to injury, burying each other in mud-slinging and back-stabbing. There are subtler symbols of trickery and deceit that is cleverly displayed in the film too, but I will leave that you to discover, so that you will enjoy them more.

In an insane twist to the story that broke the camel's back, the wealthy Motch brothers sold the 14th District en-bloc to Chinese businessmen to build factories and also to import their cheap labour en-masse to produce even cheaper goods and double their profits. This scheming maneuvre sent a chill down my spine, as much of this is already happening in Singapore, as the government has brought in  Chinese construction companies together with their cheap labour en-masse. This has crowded out the locals and kept wages the same for workers for the last ten years!!! This is surreal! Whether this will be the last straw that will break the camel's back remains to be seen of the Singapore Government.

Despite the many hard hitting political films and the democratisation of information via the Internet, rich people continue to be the puppet masters behind the thin veneer of democracy. Democratic governments wants us to believe that democracy exists in full. The autocrats don't even bother pretending. The current play is that money talks and bull-shit walks.  So, the political circus in the US or anywhere else, is here to stay. It will only change when the people change - when virtues pride over greed. Meanwhile, the people deserves the politicians they get, and  politicians deserve the  people  they get.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie and laughed my heart out. The guy behind me in the theatre was also laughing and literally almost falling off his chair. So, I would recommend you to watch it too!

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