Swing Vote (12A)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarNo StarNo StarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner25/09/2008

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 119 mins

Watchable, well acted satirical drama that starts well but quickly loses its bite and tails off into sentimentality and a cop-out ending.

What's it all about?
Set in small town Texico, New Mexico, Swing Vote stars Kevin Costner as Bud Johnson, a beer-swilling, apathetic single father who's laid off from his factory job on the same day as the presidential election. His precocious 12-year-old daughter Molly (Madeline Carroll) urges him to vote but when he doesn't show up at the polling station she sneaks in and casts his vote for him.

However, an electronic fault interrupts Molly's vote and the election comes down to whoever wins the state of New Mexico, meaning that Bud's vote will effectively pick the next President of the United States. With state law allowing Bud to recast his vote in ten days, the Republican incumbent (Kelsey Grammer) and Democratic hopeful (Dennis Hopper) arrive in Texico hoping to swing his vote their way, accompanied by their scheming campaign managers (Stanley Tucci and Nathan Lane) and the attending media circus.

The Good
The performances are excellent: Costner is superb as the giggly rube caught up in the media maelstrom, while newcomer Madeline Carroll strikes just the right note as Molly. There's also strong support from Grammar, Tucci, Lane and Hopper, as well as Paula Patton, as the investigative journalist who first breaks the story.

The film starts well, with an intriguing set-up (shades of Florida in 2004) and some strong characters but it quickly becomes clear that the film's more concerned with father-daughter bonding and Important Life Lessons than it is with political satire.

The Bad
Swing Vote is clearly striving for a Capra-esque feel-good comedy-drama along the lines of Meet John Doe, but director Joshua Michael Stern doesn't quite get the tone right and the two most satirical moments (Republican Grammer endorsing gay marriage; Democrat Hopper supporting abortion) seem like surviving gags from a sharper film.

Worth seeing?
Swing Vote is never less than watchable but in an election year, this feels like something of a missed opportunity.

Film Trailer

Swing Vote (12A)
Swing Vote has been reviewed by 1 users
image
01 The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies (tbc)

Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, ...

image
02 The Theory of Everything (tbc)

Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Emily Watson

image
03 Pride (15)

Bill Nighy, Andrew Scott, Dominic West, Imelda Sta...

image
04 What We Did on Our Holidays (12A)

David Tennant, Billy Connolly, Rosamund Pike, Anne...

image
05 The Guest (15)

Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Ethan Embry

Content updated: 27/08/2014 16:08

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Night Moves Film Review

Engaging and provocative, this is a fiercely introspective thriller from writer-director Kelly Reichardt, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films

Hot Tickets

Film 4 Summer ScreenFilm 4 Summer Screen

Taking over the big screen at Somerset House again for August 2014, the Film 4 Summer Screen series brings a variety of classics and brand new films to audiences in the capital.