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The Contender

758 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

When the truth becomes a weapon, power comes at a stunning price. Gary Oldman, Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges and Christian Slater deliver electrifying performances in this controversial, suspenseful and critically-acclaimed thriller that Ebert & Roeper and the Movies call "exciting and unusually intelligent, two very enthusiastic thumbs up!" Sometimes you can assassinate a leader without firing a shot.

Additional Features

Many Hollywood directors should follow Rod Lurie's lead and invite their stars to do the DVD commentary. Oscar nominee Joan Allan joins Lurie, turning the commentary track into an enjoyable conversation. It tends to be a lovefest at times but does give insight into the relationship between a lead actor and director during filmmaking. Over the end credits, Lurie mentions the brouhaha that actor (and producer) Gary Oldman started when he made discouraging comments about the film's final cut. It's interesting to note none of Oldman's work ends up in the dozen deleted scenes shown on the DVD. The scenes have much more meat on the bone than most and illustrate some curious character development. The half-hour making-of featurette has the standard press-kit materials but also gives us a good background on the history of political thrillers. --Doug Thomas

Special Features

  • "HBO First Look" Making Of
  • Deleted Footage

Product Details

  • Actors: Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Sam Elliott, Philip Baker Hall, Kathryn Morris
  • Directors: Rod Lurie
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Dreamworks Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 6, 2001
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (758 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CXP7
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,669 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Contender" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Mahoney on December 20, 2005
Format: DVD
I must admit from the onset that I am not one to sit down and write reviews here. But after reading some of the reviews, I feel compelled to write one of "The Contender."

Others have done an excellent job of providing a plot summary, so I will spare you the repetition. I want to address some of the reviews that have bashed the movie for being "totally unrealistic" or "biased," especially those who explicitly state their "liberal" leanings.

First, "The Contender" makes no claims to be "objective," nor should the movie be judged by a "realisitic" litmus test. Yes, the movie is polemical. It makes no bones about its leanings. Personally, I don't think this should be grounds for dismissing the movie. I found the movie incredibly refreshing for 1) providing a critical, and cutting, progressive critique of the "culture wars" that dominate so much of our public, political discourse; 2) by not being limited by the demands of being "realistic," "The Contender" gives us a glimpse of the possibility of public discourse, grounded in the SPIRIT of the US Constitution and representative democracy. Too often political thrillers limit themselves to the intrigue of negotiating and manipulating the strings of bureaucratic power within the terms of that power. By contrast, "The Contender" asks "what if?" That is, what would it look like for someone to act on an ethical basis? What would it mean to stand on principle?

When I first watched "The Contender," I didn't really know the details of the movie, and was frankly looking for something that would be fun to watch. I love the genre of political thrillers, but I also don't expect much beyond the demands of the genre (Patterson and Grisham have really dominated how political thrillers are brought to the screen).
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Edwin C. Pauzer VINE VOICE on March 12, 2010
Format: DVD
A lazy afternoon of fishing suddenly becomes a life and death struggle that will propel a governor to prominence and head a short list of vice presidential candidates to replace the one that just died. But the next surprise is the one who is actually given the nod, a senator from Ohio, Laine Hanson, played by Joan Allen.

This triggers a visceral reaction from Republican Senator Shelly Runyon of Illinois, played by Gary Oldman, who wants to see the passed over candidate, Governor Jack Hathaway, played by William Petersen, get the nod instead of her. As the chairman of the confirmation committee, there is only one thing for him to do--destroy her. Along the way, he enlists the help of a junior Democrat Congressman, Reginald Webster, played by Christian Slater who opposes her nomination for more idealistic reasons. The hearings provide the drama, and the camera takes us to the president, the hearings, the investigation by the FBI, and back to the hearings again. This keeps the story moving at a decent pace, and builds the suspense.

What makes this so good for me is that there are many scenes that I would be willing to see over again, but not all. After all, this is not "The Godfather." Should you see this, please go back to the beginning and note the governor's behavior and movement, and what the first woman in the story mouths to him.

The acting is superb. Senator Runyon reveals a sinister character who has fallen somewhere in the past from the idealistic and moral person his wife married. She sees, with dismay, the change that he does not realize. He plays his part with precise timing, speaking, halting, looking, waiting, baiting, only lacking the accent so identifiable of his home state.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 13, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Somehow I missed this film, but found it on Amazon's Prime list. This is a film that has outstanding performances by its actors. It certainly takes sides politically, which is quite obvious, and if you can't look at the film in an objective manger, than this may be a difficult film for you.

The film is liberal and Democratic, and the protagonist conservative and Republican. It appears that this film shows a feminine side of 'a sex scandal'. A Vice President has died in office, and after three weeks, the country is clam outing for a replacement. The President, played by Jeff Bridges has several choices. One is a governor who has become a hero by trying to save a drowning woman from a car accident. The problem is, the President tells Gov. Hathaway, played by William Petersen, is that the woman died. Sorry, next. sen. Laine Hanson, played by Joan Allen, is the perfect candidate until a sex scandal tries to derail her. GOP Rep. Shelly Runyon, played by Gary Oldman, in a remarkable performance does not like women in power and will use whatever device he can to bring her down. Old an plays this powerful character, either eating, drinking or smoking. And, his curly hair trying to hide a bald spot is the best I have seen. His is the performance to watch.

The mechanisms that run DC are very powerful in this film. All the deals and lies and deceit pike up except for Sen. Hanson, who will not play games nor lie. Is this the real DC, I very much doubt it, but I enjoyed this film. This is a film to observe actors, the political scheme may detract you, but go for the action and the performances.

Recommended. prisrob 10-13-14
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