Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Swing Vote. Feature film. (2008, 120 mins) IMDB
WING VOTE takes an impossible plot situation and pokes fun at the US presidential election.
Costner plays a single dad who is completely irresponsible. Lives in a trailer. Drinks too much. Can't keep a low-paying job. If it wasn't for his daughter who plays the parent, he'd probably be in jail or dead. He simply wants to have a good time and doesn't care about tomorrow and he certainly doesn't care about anything going on beyond him including the presidential election. If you asked him the names of the candidates, he wouldn't know.
Now the unlikely plot. He's not registered to vote because he fears jury duty and besides he believes his vote doesn't count. His daughter registered him to vote. She's the responsible one; she's interested in politics and making a difference; she's the one pushing her father.
On election day, they agree he'll pick her up from school and he'll go to the polling booth to vote. During the day, he loses his job at an egg-processing plant. Later he goes to a bar to drink himself silly. He forgets to vote. The young daughter knowing he's a no show, manages to sneak a ballot into the booth but there's a power failure and his vote isn't cast properly. Enter the bizarre world that follows.
The votes are cast and counted. It's tie. Since his vote wasn't properly cast, he's allowed to recast his vote and this time it will matter. This time his one vote will determine who will be the president. It's not even remotely likely to happen, but you can't have a hundred people as your hero, you have to focus on one character and in this instance, it's the unlikeliest voter possible.
When news breaks, reporters from all over land on his front dirt wanting to know how he'll vote. The candidates arrive wanting to know how to influence his decision. Over night this trailer guy becomes big news, famous and he likes it. He likes the attention and he couldn't care less who he'll vote for. This upset his daughter who thinks he should take it seriously. That's the character arc. By the end of the movie, he's learnt the pain of others, understood the issues, becomes involved in a vote based on information and reason.
The candidates bend over backwards to appease Bud. When he says he may be in favour of gay marriage, the republicans put out an ad in favour of it. The democrats aren't spared. They put out an ad in favour of anti-abortion.
The film ends with our hero casting the crucial vote. I fully expected we'd get resolution on the vote, but it ends with him closing the curtain to vote. We don't know how he voted. I was surprised they did it that way, but thinking about it, it makes the most sense. It didn't matter who he voted for because we have no rooting in either candidate. They flip-flop all over that issues are muddy to the point they are the same. Besides the point of the film was each vote counts so get informed and vote. In the process of sending this message, create a lot of laughs and there are a few.
The father and daughter combination of actors was believable, rather endearing and interesting.
Posted 2009/05/26 at 19h43ET in Movie Commentary.