Bob Roberts

1992 political satire

Rating: 16/20

Plot: Ultra-conservative folk singer Bob Roberts wants to be a senator. A film crew follows him on his campaign while reporter Bugs Raplin tries to uncover a story of corruption.

As I've here stated ad nauseum, I love the mockumentary format. Generally, you don't 100% buy what's going on in your typical mockumentary, but you forgive them because they're hilarious. Bob Roberts isn't your typical mockumentary. It's not laugh-out-loudly hilarious, but it's got the realism. The cast, including all the extras, is gigantic, but they step on each other's lines like they would in real life and none of their actions seem extraneous or unnatural, helping me buy every inch of what was happening on the screen. That's actually pretty scary when you think about it. Bob Roberts is like a mockumentary that Robert Altman would have made. And although I didn't exactly laugh, the biting satire made me nod in appreciation more than any movie I can remember. It's an impressive achievement for first-time director Tim Robbins who also wrote the thing, starred as the titular right-winger/singer, and co-wrote the songs. It must have been exhausting. After all, tongue-lashing a nation for its hypocrisy, shortsidedness, and naivete is tiring work. This wouldn't click with everybody, and like a lot of great movies, it'll offend some people. Giancarlo Esposito as the reporter, Alan Rickman as an advisor, and Gore Vidal as the incumbent are all very good. I also dug all the Bob Dylan references, some album covers and the "Subterranean Homesick Blues" thing.

1 comment:

cory said...

I haven't seen this since it came out, but a 16 sounds about right.