Sunday, October 30, 2011
The Candidate (1972)
Robert Redford stars as Bill McKay, an idealistic young lawyer who is talked into running for the U.S. senate. As the campaign wears on he slowly becomes a politician, having to compromise his integrity in order to win. Not a surprising tale but told very well. The über handsome Redford plays the part note-perfect and despite his slide into the quagmire of politics I'd still vote for Bill McKay at the end of the movie. There are many humorous moments, but they are wryly done and not overly obvious. Peter Boyle plays the campaign manager and is outstanding as always. Directed by Michael Ritchie (Bad News Bears, Semi-Tough).
I saw a bunch of Robert Redford movies in the 1970s. He was a huge star and seemed to be in a new movie every few months. In fact he made 12 movies during that decade and 3 of them were in 1972. I probably saw this one several years later, the subject matter not being enticing to a 12 year old. The other two from '72, "The Hot Rock" and "Jeremiah Johnson" (can't wait to watch that one again) would have been more my speed and I do remember seeing both of those in the theater when they came out.
As far as political films go this one has aged well and I think it's one of the better ones out there. It is quite cynical and you can't help but think that nearly 40 years later politics has not changed at all (and has probably gotten a lot worse).