Copyright Dragan Antulov 2005
Based on the novel by Tom Perotta, the plot of ELECTION is set in
CITIZEN RUTH, Alexander Payne’s previous film, wasn’t great piece of cinema but it was extraordinary achievement for one simple reason – it managed to tackle a controversial and emotionally charged subject with surprising amount of objectivity. Payne continues with this approach in ELECTION. This films lacks conventional division of characters into heroes and villains. The plot is told from the perspectives of four protagonists, which makes each of them not only complex and multi-dimensional, but also adds to the film’s satirical edge. Regardless of how pathetic and dislikeable each of those characters might be, at least someone in the audience will always be able to find few redeeming qualities in them. All this could be also attributed to very good cast. The most memorable of all the actors is Reese Witherspoon who perfectly conveys what amounts to be one the most impressive characters in 1990s
ELECTION is very good film, but it is not going to be viewed as undisputed classic. Some of McAllister character’s subplots aren’t handled very well. At first, it seemed that the same thing could be said about character of Tammy – her lesbianism was somewhat too “hip” and too convenient for this MTV-promoted film. She looked like unnecessary distraction from the film’s satirical essence. Then, after a year, her character and what she had stood for suddenly received real-life relevance when certain political contest began to unfold in a way not so dissimilar to the plot of this film. The drama that unfolded in 2000 gave ELECTION gave additional dimension and those who watch this film now are going to experience it as a more powerful socio-political commentary than the audiences in 1999.
ELECTION, even when looked outside contemporary political context, should be also be praised as one surprisingly funny and effective comedy.
RATING: 7/10 (+++)