America undoubtedly makes the world's best movies of the political drama genre. It is therefore interesting to note that the producers of Primary Colors picked a German director - Mike Nichols - to take the helm and make this one float successfully.
However, one has only to look at Herr Nichols's credentials to understand why! Having won five Oscars to date, and been nominated for another eight: his works include such classics as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Graduate. He is therefore in a strong position to be able to command a top-line cast that is headed up by John Trovolta and Emma Thompson; and also includes Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Adrian Lester, Maura Tierney, Diane Ladd, and Larry Hagman (whom you must surely remember as J R Ewing in Dallas.)
The story is about Jack Stanton (John Travolta), the charismatic governor of a Southern state, who decides to run for President of the United States. The film follows Stanton's bumbling, philandering and yet charismatic rise to the top of American politics. The Jack Stanton character has deliberately been made up to look and sound like Bill Clinton; and indeed, both the book on which the screenplay is based and the movie itself are meant to be about then President Bill Clinton's life before the White House, and his bumbling, philandering and yet charismatic rise to the top of American politics.
Entertaining? Very much so... and after an almost comedic beginning, the movie soon settles down to the drama of the eye-opening in-fighting in politics that comes as part of the territory in a national election.
While it is great to see Larry Hagman on the screen once again, top acting honours must also go to Travolta and Thompson; as well as to Kathy Bates, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role here.
This is a pretty good film: and although not having read the book, I can well understand why it became a best-seller!
Jack Stanton is a virtually unknown Southern governor on a quest for the White House with his strong, savvy and equally ambitious wife, Susan.
Running against all odds, the Stantons need all the help they can get from their extremely colourful political team.
Together, they take off on a hilarious, heart-wrenching and ultimately history-making roller coaster ride to the top.
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