WildeView — Movie Review “The Front Runner”
The Front Runner is one of those movies that isn’t about signature acting performances, spotless, creative writing, or unique and imaginative camera angles or lighting. While the cast, director and all associated with the making of The Front Runner give us what we’ve come to expect as far as quality of work, this movie is about telling a story as close to how it actually happened as possible. This movie presents one of those stories that is compelling and and so relevant to our current lives as to not need to do anything more. Whether you’re old enough to remember the events of the election season of 1988, or are learning about them for the first time, The Front Runner is yet another example of a movie about the media vs. the socio-political issues of our time.
This growing mini-genre has seen numerous films come down the pike in the past 10–15 years, some where the press is the hero, others the villain. In films such as Good Night and Good Luck, The Insider, and The Post, we as viewers are reminded of what the media can be capable of when taking on an issue of great importance to the public at-large. But in The Front Runner, just as in movies like Truth, State of Play, and Paparazzi before it, the nightmare of the modern media and its determination to destroy people without regard to facts or full stories is once again center-stage.
In this case The Front Runner stands directly on the opposite side of The Post. Only a year ago at this time we were praising The Washington Post for its unflinching pursuit of the truth about the Vietnam War. Now in The Front Runner a new generation of Washington Post reporters, columnists and editors are central figures in the demise of a politician that possibly could have changed the course of US politics and government.
This double-sided nature of the media and its influence on our lives seems to be something we continually recognize as important. Yet we see no ability to do anything about it despite the media’s consistent claim that they only write what the readers want to read about. When the real, impactful stories come along we say thank you. When the trash comes, we choose not to look away. Can the speed of our society and culture be our greatest weakness? Does it prevent us from finding the truth if it doesn’t come to us in a 5-second sound bite? Worse yet, are we consciously able to see how those in power can use this weakness to their own advantage? And, how that might prevent the truly great people of this country from leading us?
At the end of the movie, Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart, delivers a speech nearly verbatim to a speech that the actual Gary Hart. If nothing else, it is advised that you see this movie just to hear that speech and its prophetic nature towards our reality today. Both as a movie, and as a topic, The Front Runner is a movie that fits right in with our culture and this growing mini-genre in the movie and television industry.