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The Contender (2000)

 -  Drama | Thriller  -  13 October 2000 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 18,753 users   Metascore: 59/100
Reviews: 360 user | 131 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

Sexy secrets from a womans past come to light as she runs for Vice President.

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Jack Hathaway
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Oscar Billings
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William Hanson (as Robin Thomas)
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Paige Willomina
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Fiona Hathaway
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Makerowitz
Noah Fryrear ...
Timmy
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Storyline

A political thriller about Laine Hanson, a senator who is nominated to become Vice President following the death of the previous office holder. During the confirmation process, Laine is the victim of a vicious attack on her personal life in which stories of sexual deviancy are spread. She is torn as to whether she should fight back, or stick to her high principles and refuse to comment on the allegations. Written by Ted Johnson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes you can assassinate a leader without firing a shot. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

13 October 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La conspiración  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£163,170 (UK) (20 April 2001)

Gross:

ESP 69,024,815 (Spain) (29 June 2001)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jeff Bridges plays a bowling President of the USA. He also plays a bowler in The Big Lebowski (1998). Both movies also feature Sam Elliott. See more »

Goofs

In the final speech that President Evans gives, you can clearly see a mic boom operator and his boom as the camera pans to the left to view the audience. See more »

Quotes

Laine Hanson: Come on, Kermit. If we do that, we are no better than he is.
Kermit Newman: We are no better than he is!
See more »

Crazy Credits

For our daughters See more »

Connections

Featured in The Contender: The Making of a Political Thriller (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Riveting performances and a thought-provoking story. One of the best movies of the year. **** (out of four)

THE CONTENDER / (2000) **** (out of four)

After our recent presidential conflicts, Rod Lurie's political drama, "The Contender" is of the most timely and uncommonly absorbing movies this year, even though we may be sick and tired of politics. The film examines political figures and their stand of such controversial issues like abortion, infidelities, and even Clinton's impeachment trial, making this production feel real, as if a behind the scenes look at a sex scandal in Washington DC because it is so well written and portrayed. Interlaced with much thought-provoking material and Academy Award worthy performances, "The Contender" is one of the best pictures of the year.

As the film opens, the country's vice president has recently died, leaving Democratic President Jackson Evans (Jeff Bridges), who is near the end of his final term, choosing a vice president for replacement. Although he recently bared his courage in a failed attempt to save a woman from drowning, Governor Jack Hathaway (William L. Peterson) is turned down by President Evens. Instead, Evens wants to leave a legacy by selecting a woman as vice president, thus chooses a Senator who currently shifted from the Republican party to the Democratic party, Laine Hanson (Joan Allen). The Republican confirmation committee chairman, Shelly Runyon (Gary Oldman), thinks Evans' choice to be self-dignified and inaccurate, and desires Hathaway to take the place of the vice president.

"The Contender" begins on a strong note, only displaying the necessary events. We do not witness the death of the original vice-president because it is not important. We do get to see the heroic action of Governor Hathaway, however, squarely because this event, concluding with a shocking twist, plays a vital role in the movie at a later time. Through brilliant directing and editing, the story provides an increasing amount of tension within the characters, especially the Joan Allen and Jeff Bridges characters.

In a cruel attempt to prove the insecurities of the vice-presidential candidate, Runyon uncovers information that places Hanson's morality in question. The situation is whether or not she participated in public sex with two men (at the same time) while 19 years of age in college. The information is leaked to the press, while Runyon uses the discussion to bring the subject in the hearings. "What I say the American people will believe. And do you know why? Because I will have a very big microphone in front of me," states Runyon. The democrats are extremely weary over this case because 1) they know Runyon's statement is true and 2) Hanson refuses to acknowledge anything regarding her alleged sexual adventures. Even so, the president supports his candidate.

The movie succeeds with its accurate and involving performances. Joan Allen is Award material in a performance that is tense, taut, and engaging. Christian Slater is frantic and energetic as a novice reporter. Jeff Bridges is entirely convincing as the President of the United States. His prestige is convincing and he exhibits a powerful, detailed attitude, resulting in a superb performance. Gary Oldman is perfect with a sly, cunningly cocky and self-confident performance that fits his character extremely well; there is a very real possbility his work will be remembered come Academy Award time.

"The Contender" succeeds to a high degree because it makes us to examine our own beliefs and possible reactions to such a pragmatic issue; would we, as individuals, want a vice-president who is a sleaze ball, or as a character puts it "with a mouth full of c*ck." What makes the film even more extraordinarily enthralling is that it never until the end reveals whether Laine actually did participate in the immoral acts. This is a very thought-provoking story, full of surprising twists and a meaningful message.


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