Election

January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

On the surface, Election is a movie about just that–a Student Council election in a local Omaha, Nebraska high school. To everyone at the school, it would seem that the race is a cinch, Tracy Flick (Reese Witherspoon) is the natural choice (actually, she’s the only choice). She’s head of every other organization, club and activity group known to man…so becoming student council president seems the logical choice; not to mention the natural progression of things. Popular high school teacher Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick) seems disgusted with Tracy and can’t stand the site of seeing her literally walk away with the victory. McAllister encourages football jock, Paul Metzler (Chris Klein, who plays the same oversensitive jock he does in ‘American Pie’) to run. Paul seems to like the idea, hence the race is on!

But, that’s on the surface…Election has a few other storylines intertwined within it’s fascinating plot. Beneath the surface, it hits on other issues, such as…Paul’s adopted sister has delusions of being a lesbian and is also forced into the running for Student Council President just because her brother is running. She’s obviously confused about her feelings and scares her “girlfriend” into her being her brother’s new boyfriend! The relationship between Jim and his wife is also explored. They seem happy and content, want kids but have been married 12 years and have always found reasons not to have them. Their best friends have divorced because of the husband’s relationship with Tracy Flick (I don’t want to go into detail about this), and in turn an affair occurs between Jim and Linda.

Bottom line is that Election is a very unique and well-crafted movie. It’s not afraid to say what it thinks “literally in some cases”. It comments on issues and focuses on everyday people. Admit it, we all had a Tracy Flick in our high school class, and we all hated her! Matthew Broderick is a terrific actor and gives a decent performance here. Reese Witherspoon has her character down to a tee, but it seemed almost too perfect at times, but I’m probably just nit picking. The rest of the cast are relative unknowns, but put them all together and it makes a fine, entertaining movie.

Video: How does it look?

A 16:9 transfer looks very good. I did notice a few artifacts here and there, but a good majority of the film is shot in the “bleak” Omaha area, which gives it a look kind of like “Fargo”. There was some softness around the edges as well, I don’t know if this was intended. Overall, the picture is clear and clean.

Audio: How does it sound?

If this was a mono soundtrack it would have been great, but it’s Dolby Digital 5.1. I noticed a few surround effects, but none were used with great effectiveness. About 95% of the movie is dialogue driven, and this sounds very clean and centered. However, there really is no need for anything more than a good dialogue. It’s what makes this movie work.

Supplements: What are the extras?

On the menu screen, it’s labeled “Special Feature”, a commentary with the director adds a very humurous insight to the movie. It’s a welcome addition, considering a few months ago, I don’t think Paramount would have included this. More is always better, but a commentary really seems to shut me up as I am satisfied with it.

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