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The Final Word | Tuesday, 26 September 2017
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THE CONTENDER   Print  E-mail 
Written by Graham Reed  
Monday, 05 July 2004
Death. Intrigue.Shenanigans.The usual business at 1600 Pensylvania Avenue.

With an all star cast "The Contender" is a adept, taut White house thriller; though not in the gung-ho way. When the Vice President dies unexpectably, Senator Laine (Joan Allen) is appointed as the first female Vice President, upsetting the old-boys club. When Shelly, the resident spin doctor, (an almost unrecognisable and outstanding performance from Gary Oldman) sets to work with private investigators, digging up the dirt from the past no matter how unsubstantiated, he starts leading to a witch hunt in order to depose and discredit her. 

With Christian Slater as an idealistic young congressman and Jeff Bridges an almost permanently bemused president, Joan Allen rides the political scandal while the press and media try to rip her life apart. Directed and written by former film critic Rod Laurie, The Contender is one of the best political thrillers in recent years, focusing almost entirely on the internal workings of American politics and media.

Much like the under-rated "13 Days" , this is a fascinating, revelatory thriller that simultaneously entertains and educates ; definitely one of the better films of the past 12 months. On the UK DVD, the commentary is a bonus and also the exclusive UK interviews don't hurt either!

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