Directed by: Jay Roach
This film brings viewers behind the scenes of the very controversial and highly contested ‘00 Presidential Florida recount. It was during that election that large numbers of voters in several counties in Florida felt that a confusing ballot design caused them to vote incorrectly. This illuminating film works at pulling back the veil on the headlines in order to explore the human drama that surrounded the most controversial presidential election that ever took place in U.S. history.
Successfully mixing actual news footage with verbatim dialogue and fictionalized re-creations of the events that surrounded the recount, this film examines the torturous process that lead to the Supreme Court entering into the mix and ultimately deciding the election in 2000. The Republican teas, led by charismatic Texan James Baker (Wilkinson), initially seize the initiative by getting the case tried in the judicial system as well as the court of public opinion. Meanwhile the Democrats are forced to play catch-up until Ron Klain (Spacey), Gore’s former chief of staff, takes over the reins of the effort and starts matching Baker’s political hardball with a series of tough moves of his own. Some of the other players in this little drama include a very colorful cast ranging from the impressive appellate lawyer, David Boies (Begley Jr.), to the maligned and seemingly loopy, Florida Secretary of State, Katherine Harris (Dern).
The film brings the viewer right in on the action as it recreates many of the events with the movers and shakers who worked on the Florida fight. As the story unfolds on the small screen in this made-for-TV HBO drama viewers will experience the same feelings that ran rampant during those days of the recount itself, only intensified as we are now witnessing some of the maneuvers that were being enacted at the time. Perhaps one of the best scenes occurs towards the end when we get a glimpse into the humanity of Baker’s motivations in a scene that makes him less of a political hatchet man, and more of a fully-formed sensitive human being.
This is really one political film that should be watched by anyone interested in the political process as it gives the feeling of being brought inside a real-life political event. Recount is currently being played on HBO.
Robert J. Sodaro has been writing professionally for some 30+ years. He came of age not only watching TV, but reading comicbooks and going to the movies. Subscribe to receive regular articles and reviews about TV programs.