The Contender (2000)

Director: Rod Lurie

Writer: Rod Lurie (Screenplay)

Starring: Gary Oldman, Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater, Sam Elliott, William Petersen, Saul Rubinek, Philip Baker Hall


Plot: Senator Laine Hanson is a contender for US Vice President, but information and disinformation about her past surfaces that threatens to de-rail her confirmation.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Brilliant Political Thriller


Story: The Contender starts as President Jackson Evans (Bridges) is in search for a new Vice-President after the death of the previous one. When senator Jack Hathaway (Petersen) witnesses a car crash but is unsuccessful in rescuing the victim, this eliminates him from the race for the Vice-President role because it will show failure in his character.

President Jackson selects who he wants in Senator Laine Hanson (Allen). It isn’t long before Shelly Runyon (Oldman) the judge of the committee of the confirmation procedure and young upstart Reginald Webster (Slater) to try and expose the secrets of Laine so they can select Hathaway as Vice-President.

As the confirmation committee continue their questioning Laine’s personal life is opened for all to see, leaving her to find herself folding on her own morals or fight back against the people exposing her life’s decisions.


Thoughts on The Contender


Characters/PerformanceLaine is a senator who gets thrust into the public spotlight as the lead contender to be Vice-President, she has led a life that does have secrets but nothing illegal, she wants to stand by her morals if she is given the role even though she is going to get her past exposed. Shelly is the man trying to plan his own decision on who will be the next Vice-President, he has been planning to get one over the President’s choice.  President Jackson is a strong man, a leader who keeps his cards close to his chest but also knows how to keep the people he is scouting near him to learn their motives. The rest of the characters are all great throughout to work within their roles in how the events will unfold.

Performance wise, Joan Allen is fantastic in the lead role of this movie showing all the integrity needed for a Vice-Presidential candidate. Gary Oldman as always is fantastic in his role that you barely even know it is him. Jeff Bridges even in a supporting role is gripping to see as we do just want to see where his performance will take us. Each and every supporting performance is great through this film and completely worth watching as one of their best.

StoryA story that focuses on the ideas of what would make a good Vice-President, we see how events in their lives are not important to where they are now, we also see how their beliefs shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to making the right decisions for the country. We see how the contenders can go out of their way to make something happen but most importantly we see how they can be honest when it comes to making the right choices.

ThrillerThe film does keep us on edge throughout the story unfolding as we are looking to see what the next secret could be and if it could damage the campaign.

SettingsThe settings all come off how you would expect with the story unfolding, we have the White House, the courtroom and her own personal home where each detail is learnt about.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to political thrillers this is easily one of the best you will see, it is a must watch for the fans of the genre and the heavyweight performances show us this.


Overall: Political masterclass of a film.





Fear (1996)

logoDirector: James Foley

Writer: Christopher Crowe (Screenplay)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Reese Witherspoon, William Petersen, Any Brenneman, Alyssa Milano, Christopher Gray, Tracy Fraim, Gary Riley


Plot: When Nicole met David; handsome, charming, affectionate, he was everything. It seemed perfect, but soon she sees that David has a darker side. And his adoration turns to obsession, their dream into a nightmare, and her love into fear.


Verdict: Love is a Thriller


Story: When teenagers fall in love we all know that nothing much will come of it when one part turns into a bit of a psycho. We do get to see the highs of the relationship and how in love the couple are, but we also see the dark side once they start to break up. We see how one man snaps once he can’t get what he wants and will go to great lengths in his mind games against the family before things get out of hand. It turns from a dull school girl romance into a home invasion psychological thriller. (7/10)


Actor Review


Mark Wahlberg: David the charmer with a dark side because when love takes over he will stop at nothing to get his girl, disposing of whoever gets in his way. Good performance here showing his darker side and range early on in his career. (8/10)


Reese Witherspoon: Nicole the sweet sixteen year old who falls for bad boy David, not noticing that he could have a darker side and wonders why he gets mad when she just stops seeing him, very naïve young girl. Good performance from Reese showing she was going onto bigger and better things. (7/10)


William Petersen: Steve the architect father of Nicole who becomes suspicious of David early on but gets drawn into his mind games. Good protective father performance showing he always had the authority role down to a tee. (7/10)


Director Review: James Foley – Good direction mixing genres as the film unfolds. (7/10)


Thriller: Once the slow romantic story first finishes the thrills really start. (8/10)

Settings: Some good isolated locations leaving the family trapped while the invasion happens. (7/10)

Suggestion: This is one to try, fans of the actors should go back and see their early work and it is a solid thriller. (Try)


Best Part: Wahlberg is frightening in the lead villain.

Worst Part: Slow starting.

Kill Of The Film: School friend.

Scariest Scene: The dog scene.

Believability: People can become that obsessed but I think this is a bit too far. (3/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $21 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Tagline: He’s dying to date you


Overall: Solid Thriller About A Lost Love

Rating 76