This is an emotional roller-coaster that will keep you watching despite knowing how it is going to end. There are very few films which have the ability to suck in an audience so deeply even though they know what is going to happen.
It raises questions about the 2000 election and does a fair job of cramming several weeks into two hours. The performances are pitch perfect and but Laura Dern in particular should win an Emmy for her portrayal of Katherine Harris. Your party affiliation should not prevent you from watching this film as it bounces back and forth between both campaigns without too overtly taking a side.
I don't know how Jay Roach got involved in directing this project, but he redeemed himself for the horrific "Austin Powers in Goldmember".
I had no idea how convoluted and poorly-handled the 2000 presidential election in Florida really was until seeing this movie. I remember that there were comments in the news about hanging chads, etc., but did not know about all of the legal and other issues that are revealed in the movie. It makes you wonder about all elections in all counties and states, on any issue.
It was absolutely riveting the entire way through--just when you think it was going one way, there would be a reversal. Fictional movies wish they had this many plot twists. My least favorite topic, normally, is politics, so for this movie to make an election in one state riveting, is saying a lot.
The performances were excellent, particularly by Kevin Spacey. The dialog and performances were so natural, it was almost like a documentary.
I could not turn away from this movie- not because the outcome was unclear or because I was unfamiliar with the events (I took a class in college the next year entirely dedicated to this debacle) I just found the acting so compelling.
The actors did a fantastic job- they created tension even when I knew what the Supreme Court would say- If you are a political junkie and have not been drinking from your respective party's kool-aid jug for too long you will enjoy this movie.
Those that take offense to this film clearly are delusional about their party or candidates- they can't acknowledge that their side will go to the same lengths as the other guy to win- Recount is not a social commentary on voter fraud- it is a behind the scenes look at the recount teams for Gore and Bush and how they strategized and plotted to WIN-
That does not mean Recount seeks to establish who WON the election- only that there were two camps who wanted to, which we already knew before the vote was so ridiculously close. And I don't see how the film could have done a better job showing us this-
Recount goes over familiar territory, and for some it will be like opening up a wound that's been covered for several years only to find the pus is still fresh and rotten. Whether you're a democrat or republican- for the latter, of course, your man "won" in the end- a lot of the details in the story of the Florida electoral results in the 2000 Presidential election just flat out stink of corruption and mismanagement. It displays a failure on the part of what should be a somewhat reliable process in an already faulty system (i.e. electoral college, besides the point). What lessons can be taken from the Florida story? Pretty much the story, and the film, acts as a referendum on how things can get so (bleeped), on each party side- democrats not strong enough in the fight at crucial beats, republicans acting like bullies- and the only hope is that it never gets this wretched again.
Whatever thoughts on the issues one will have, it's a worthwhile TV movie based just on the cast alone. Director Jay Roach, usually responsible for silly comedies like Austin Powers and Meet the Parents, tackles the drama with a firm hand (if not the sturdiest camera- hand held of course) on his large group of thespians. Kevin Spacey hasn't been this good in years, and Leary is a welcome presence as a Gore campaign member. Also very noteworthy are small parts for John Hurt, Ed Begley Jr, Bruce McGill. But best of all are Laura Dern in a harrowingly funny turn as dumb-bell Katherine Harris and Tom Wilkinson as tough lawyer James Baker, who comes off as icy as one might expect playing a loyal cadre of the Bush family. They make the movie compulsively watchable, even as the details of the case- the dimple chads, the discrimination, the BS protester problem in Miami-Dade, and ultimately the ruling of the supreme court- make one very sick about the madness unraveling.
If you were paying attention to the United States presidential election in 2000, then I suppose you must have a streak of masochism in order to watch this recapitulation--it is bound to stir up the powerful emotions experienced at the time, no matter what side of the divide you were on. Just read some of the reviews and comments to verify what a hot button issue this still is. If you were not paying attention in 2000, or you are too young to remember, then this film will certainly introduce you to all the major events and issues: hanging chads, dimpled chads, recounts, court cases, accusations of voter suppression, confusing ballots, the status of military votes, and so forth. The major players in this high-stakes drama are all here too, and documentary footage is inserted for believability. The film is definitely more than loosely based on fact, since most of the public statements are taken from the record. It's the extrapolations to what went on behind closed doors that is open to question.
This plays like a thriller, even for those who are familiar with the story. If none of this ever happened, then I think all would agree that this is a good movie with a great plot and fine cast. Laura Dern, as Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, creates a memorable character and Tom Wilkinson is a standout as Bush's legal adviser James Baker (Secratary of State under George H. W. Bush). Wilkinson captures Baker almost to the point where you could mistake him for the real person.
I think it came as a surprise at the time that the United States election process could ever be so fouled up. If there is a non-partisan message to be had from this movie it is that measures should be taken to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. While the 2000 election led to the Election Reform Act of 2002, the process is still far from perfect, especially since implementation details are left up to the individual states. Much controversy still exists over electronic voting machines, requirements for user ID, and so forth. And the current Coleman vs. Franken senate contest in Minnesota, now in its fourth month and still undecided, proves that extremely close contests are still messy affairs. Since there are so many arguments to be made on either side in such cases, I often think that such close elections should be decided by a coin toss.
It seems impossible to find a generally-accepted unbiased telling of the 2000 election. The reviews for all books I have looked into seem to split on party lines. Maybe it is impossible to be impartial on this one.
The incredible mess of an election in year 2000, forever altered the worlds perception of the USA. The ridiculous fact that you can lose the election with the majority of the votes would be enough, but when the courts decide the winner, it is hard to sustain the self-deluding image of the last great Western democracy. Even if we make allowances for the artistic liberty, this smart political movie clearly shows the dire predicament in which we found ourselves. The extreme closeness of this race forced us to face the inadequacies in our system. Sadly, 10 years later almost nothing changed. The ship is sinking, and the rats will soon be leaving.
Jay Roach (the "Austin Power" series, "Meet the Parents") doesn't seem the right director for a political-driven movie about one of the most controversial elections ever, but he did a good job in charge of this well-executed HBO production. "Recount" features solid performances all around, particularly Kevin Spacey as Ron Klain (Al Gore's recount point man) and Tom Wilkinson as James Baker (Bush's top recount strategist); Laura Dern seemed to have fun playing the ridiculously clueless (and potentially malevolent) Katherine Harris (Florida's Secretary of State), the woman who stopped the recount. The movie works for being wittily unbiased (Spacey's outburst scene: "You know what's funny? I don't even know if I like Al Gore... I just wanna know who actually won this f***ing election!" is pivotal, and his last conversation with Wilkinson/Baker is also a great point) and informative for those who have short-term memory (or were too young 8 years ago). We all know how it's gonna end, and the movie doesn't have the pretension of answering eternal questions like "Who really won the election and would have Al Gore been a better president?" We'll most likely never know the first, and can just wonder about the second. For better or worse, things would've been different had Bush lost, that's for sure. It might not be a solace, but that's the only truth we have, and the makers of "Recount" seem to be aware of that. 7.5/10.
I just saw this movie, and then read a couple of the user reviews here on IMDb. I particularly enjoyed the comments from angry Republicans saying that this film is biased. Yes, it is. But then again, anyone who has more than a hundred working brain cells should be biased towards the Democratic stand points, on virtually EVERY political issue. Not being an American, I can honestly say that we (that is: the rest of the world) follow the American elections with astonishment. The mud slinging, the candidates that blunder ("If I become president, there are three departments I want to cancel, one is A, another is B, and the third is....eh...eh...Oops"), etc. Usually, American citizens will consider Republican presidents as good, while the whole world has way more appreciation for the Democratic ones (i.e. Jimmy Carter and his Camp David agreements between Begin and Sadat). So I know about the mess that was the 2000 presidential election. But this film just reminded me of how big of a screw-up it really was. And to top it off, the U.S. supreme court just appoints the guy that belongs to the same party as the majority of its judges. It is done that way in what everyone considers "outlaw states" like Birma. You'd think that the highest judicial body in the country would base its judgment on something like, oh, I don't know...LEGAL considerations... I think it's safe to say that 911 would NOT have happened if Al Gore had been president at the time, because every time a Democrat is in office, the U.S. attitude towards the rest of the world seems just a little more considerate than under a Republican. If I had not known this movie was a depiction of a true story, I would have called the story far-fetched and incredible. But these things really did happen, and clearly demonstrate the bankruptcy of the American democracy. Politics in the U.S.A. is about as low as mankind can sink.
I have been studying and writing about elections and election fraud for several years. I studied the 2000 Florida election in great detail, writing a chapter in my book, "Was the 2004 Presidential Election Stolen? Exit Polls, Election Fraud, and the Official Count" (Seven Stories Press, 2006), on the subject: "Chapter 2. Florida sets the Stage in 2000." Recount dramatizes the count-the-ballots battle in Florida after the 2000 election. In my experience, reporting on events about which I am knowledgeable often barely resemble the reality because of errors, shortcuts and important omissions which seem inevitably to be part of the process. But I saw no errors or inaccuracies at all in Recount. Everything and everyone was portrayed consistent with my understanding of what happened and the actual behavior of the cast of characters. Moreover, they amazingly touch on every important point despite the standard length film time and story-line constraints. It's obvious that extraordinary effort went into researching what happened and crafting the story-lines. Finally, it's a momentous, high drama, tightly told and cut with many powerful scenes, including the final scene of (uncounted) ballots sitting in boxes in a warehouse. The acting is as good as it gets. Whether or not you think you already know what happened, this is a highly compelling film.
There are two immutable facts that were brought out in this excellent film: one, Florida looked absolutely ridiculous in the way they conducted elections; and two, the 2000 election was absolutely stolen.
Florida will forever be stigmatized by butterfly ballots and hanging chads. The fact that election officials in some sixteen counties refused to do the machine recount as ordered shows the incompetency of our officials.
The recount notwithstanding, the manipulation of the voter roles and the subsequent disenfranchisement of 20,000 voters by the clownish Katherine Harris, played perfectly by Laura Dern, casts a permanent stain on the legitimacy of the Bush presidency.
The fact that the details of this movie were well known did not detract one bit from its enjoyment. It was compelling and exciting and the performances of stars like Kevin Spacey, Tom Wilkinson, and Dern made you forget that you knew the ending.
If you thought a movie about the controversial 2000 Presidential campaign recount in Florida, you're wrong. Just when you think it's some crazy movie, you recall that it all really happened. At times, only the CNN footage reminds us that it really did happen. The drama and gravitas of the story should not be lost, but is, upon Americans. The movie not only accurately portrays actual events, but notes their context and their importance to American history, an analysis that many have already so soon forgotten.
The star-filled cast's fame does not disservice or overshadow the characters they portray, a fine balance of talent and respect. Special note, however, must be paid to Laura Dern's awe-inspiring role as the aloof, artificial Secretary of State, Katherine Harris. Despite makeup which makes prostitutes jealous, her mannerisms and uncanny slanted poise cause incredulous disbelief that such a wacky imitation could be enacted. All the cast, however, is likewise surrealistically convincing.
The hard working, late hours, and soul-sucking reality of working in a campaign office, often a suite rented out of a strip shopping mall with temporary desks and phone lines cheaply laid in for only a few months' time, is evident and pervasive. Such atmospheres lend the movie a realistic feel of grassroots-level work. One is likely to develop a profound respect for the idealism and vigor (or ego) of such volunteers with such spartan environments.
Music is not even necessary as the chaotic, meaningless buzz of a campaign office or the silent seriousness of a limo ride are soundtracks in and of themselves. The seriousness of the situation does not let the viewer go for the entire movie's arc, from the movie's opening seconds when an elderly lady's seemingly innocent action will cause screaming suspended disbelief in all viewers alike. The tension continues for over an hour more, frustrating and terrifying viewers until an ending whose frustration compares with few other feelings. Even typically dry court readings gain an impossible level of drama, tension, and emotional disbelief to the point of tears as the movie progresses through the increasingly unbelievable tale. The dirty tactics are unsurprising, given recent politics, but to witness the beginnings of the such era in retrospective is humbling. The animosity of the foes is tempered with a thin grasp on reality and humanity, summoned by powers eluding most of us common lay men and women.
The film is so accurate and nearly documentary which is suitable for those of all political persuasions. The far more important point is the preservation of the Union and our ability to pass power peacefully and civilly. Affairs even weightier than party affiliation are at stake. The movie is trying on the heart and mind as it begs us to question how insane the electoral system is, a view with which those of all political persuasions may likely agree. Nonetheless, the system somehow survived to live another day, a day that will again return.
I only tivoed this movie because Denis Leary & Kevin Spacey were in it. I was afraid it would be boring because of the subject matter. Boy, was I wrong. This is a fascinating look at the mess in FL in 2000, and goes through everything that happened step by step. I remember it happening, but don't remember any details because I wasn't involved in politics then. To see what a true mess was made of the situation, and the political games that were played to prevent a true counting of the votes of the citizens of FL is very disturbing. Very, very disturbing.
I kept getting so caught up in it, getting exciting for the Gore legal victories, & then would remember, duh, they lost, remember! Kevin Spacey is a standout as Ron Klain, who put his heart and soul in to the fight and didn't want to give up, even at the end. Denis Leary was great as Michael Whouley, in his natural kind of role: sarcastic, caustic, funny. Laura Dern was amazing as Katherine Harris. That woman must be a total nut job in real life. She basically singlehandedly corrupted the democratic process in the state of FL. Tom Wilkinson, who I almost didn't recognize from The Full Monty because of his different accent, was excellent as James Baker. I give this a movie a 10. It kept me enthralled about a subject that I didn't think I would care enough about, & the actor's performances were top notch.
I lived and still do live in Palm Beach County Florida. Not far from the Elections office. For once a show doesn't over dramatize everything. I say this because the protests at the Elections office were far more intense than portrayed in this show.
The actors and their scenes may include artistic license but I wasn't there in their office for that.
The show brought back with full intensity all the emotions I was going through when this happened. I voted early in the day and remembered how I felt that something was not going to be smooth about this. I should have spoke up.
This show isn't a documentary, so don't expect to come away with any amount of wisdom, but perhaps a bit of enlightenment as to the pure ugliness of the situation.
It seems like we've all forgotten the fact of how close the 2000 Presidential Election truly was and all the controversy surrounding Florida and their voting techniques. Even in the wake of how much most of us despise what President Bush has done we don't remember exactly how close we came to President Al Gore instead. This HBO film will certainly open your eyes and give you a reminding slap in the face and if you weren't already it will tick you off. Yes the story was probably made more from the democratic perspective so it does tend to appear a little one sided...maybe why I liked it a little more than I should...but still film is a viable way to demonstrate a point from any angle so simply watch it with a grain of salt. Still the film is very entertaining considering it revolves nearly entirely around recounting ballots and fighting for their candidate from two different camps. The acting is very well done, with some very respectable actors, and the story is actually enthralling. They haven't made this strictly as a mockumentary or for political fans only but instead anyone could watch this and truly be entertained even if they don't necessarily have any opinions about politics or the given situation. It's just an interesting, intelligent story about a real life situation.
Kevin Spacey...the name alone means you're going to get a hell of a powerful performance nine times out of ten. He is terrific in this more subtle laid back role as Gore campaign leader Ron Klain. He has this quiet intensity that just keeps things alive on screen. Laura Dern gives a stunning knock out performance as infamous Florida Governor Katherine Harris. Terrific character actor who I love Bob Balaban plays the Bush campaign head going toe to toe with Spacey Ben Ginsberg. Although they share no actual screen time that I can think of Balaban and Spacey are terrific rivals of the mind and make for a very intriguing story. Ed Begley Jr., John Hurt, Denis Leary, and Tom Wilkinson all round out the stronger members of the supporting cast in really good strong roles. I would have liked to have seen more out of Tom Wilkinson's character and John Hurt's who looked remarkably like his character Warren Christopher. Denis Leary could have been given a better character than a foul mouthed hot shot because that IS Denis Leary and I think he can do better than that.
This story doesn't thrive on the characters, it thrives on the real life event surrounding the 2000 bid for the Presidency. However having such strong actors portraying the characters doesn't hurt either. If anyone would be a strange director to have take on this story and task it would be Jay Roach is more known for his wild comedies than serious historical drama. Still he has worked with some of the best actors in Hollywood so I imagine he finds making these films pretty simple considering the talent he's got in front of the camera. Still as a director this film would be no simple task and he does very well at bringing the story to life. Recount is for anyone who wants to see a slice of American History from any perspective. Students will even enjoy seeing it in political classrooms because it's entertaining but still tells a strong story. While it probably would have went nowhere on the big screen it manages to really impress on the small one and definitely worth checking out for something a little above average both film wise and intellectually. 8/10
Hey, I'm a conservative and I enjoyed this film. HBO did a credible job in keeping it as balanced as one could expect in this democrat leaning movie world. Of course I loved the West Wing TV show too even if it trashed most of my values. The bottom line here is:
1) was the acting good - yes! The standouts being Tom Wilkinson (as James Baker), Dennis Leary (as Michael Whouley) and Laura Dern (as Katherine Harris). Dern played Harris as a caricature (she was kooky but not that kooky) but it was fun to watch.
2) was the story good - yes. How could it not be when we had an event happen that the country hadn't seen since the early days of the US presidency. The country was tested and passed in flying colors. Sure it was politically rough for both parties afterwords, with finger pointing lasting for years, but the country itself survived the chaos just fine.
3) do we learn some things - maybe. I'm sure some here read every scrap of info on this thing back in the day but while I was riveted to the event, I didn't see every detail. The back room conversations (assuming accuracy) were pretty cool with both parties feeling they had the moral high ground. The more obtuse tidbits the film decided to go with certainly favored the democrats even though there were plenty of oddities on both sides they could have chosen from. But I have to say I'm used to the norm being a lot more biased. And the questions asked at the end were water cooler topics for the next day. Would Gore have been better? If things were reversed would the US Supreme Court have stopped a Bush recount? Would the Florida Supreme Court have allowed a Bush recount to begin with?
I'll leave my own beliefs on those issues to myself but the fact that they brought about talk and anger at home and work the day after this film aired is a pretty good indication that the movie worked as intended.
A sort of bastard cousin of The West Wing. The team behind this film is partisan - would you bother to go poring over the vagaries of the 2000 Presidential Election fiasco if you'd won? - but it makes a reasonable attempt to render facts.
The drama is populated by a large number of Hollywood's cream: great turns from Dern (playing Katherine Harris as a mad glamourpuss), Spacey, Leary, Hurt and an unlikely but ultimately convincingly greasy Tom Wilkinson. Bruce McGill, my personal benchmark for a worthwhile, echt-American drama also has a small role.
The candidates themselves are only ever seen face-on in archive footage, of which there is a smattering (Liebermann selling his man down the river, Dan Rather calling the election). The issue of disputed voting cards is helpfully animated. Like The West Wing, a lot of the legal and political arguments are more foggy and we rely on another scripting device, the coup de précis, which is often bitterly ironic.
Towards the end, Wilkinson's James Baker makes a short speech in which he says that 'the system worked - there were no tanks on the streets'. At face value he's right: the oft-stated desire for democracy-showcasing resolution has come good. Yet, at the end of a less than satisfactory decade in American political leadership, one cannot help watching the drama lamenting an election secured by sleight of hand and shake your head with regret. 6.5/10
This movie was much more engaging and entertaining than I thought it would be, given the subject matter. As I watched, it was kind of like watching Titanic (without the romance): You know how it's going to end but you watch anyway.
When this happened in real life, I felt a sense of impending doom when the Supreme Court ultimately elected Bush. The movie doesn't push you in that direction, however it evoked the same feeling in me as the storyline progressed. Unfortunately, the impending doom became real life doom. Regardless, a movie that can so vividly inspire a feeling felt in real life gets my vote.
First, to all that think that the Republicans (evil guys wearing black in the movie) stole the election... remember that The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, sponsored by a consortium of major U.S. news organizations, conducted a Florida Ballot Project comprehensive review of all ballots uncounted (by machine) in the Florida 2000 presidential election, both undervotes and overvotes, with the main research aim being to report how different ballot layouts correlate with voter mistakes.
The media companies involved were:
* Associated Press
* The New York Times
* The Wall Street Journal
* St. Petersburg Times
* The Palm Beach Post
* The Washington Post
* Tribune Company
o Los Angeles Times
o Chicago Tribune
o Orlando Sentinel
o The Baltimore Sun
The media reported the results of the study during the week after November 12, 2001. The results of the study showed that had the limited county by county recounts requested by the Gore team been completed, Bush would still have been the winner of the election. The recount also showed that had there been a full statewide recount of all counties, Bush still would've won under all but the most liberal of counting methods.
Of course this movie does not cover any of this. The movie is heavily biased against the Republicans, and against myself and others who supported Bush. And that I find offensive.
The movie makes Katherine Harris look like a Bimbo, which she is not. Note that the Republicans are always in the "evil cave" aka cherry paneled conference room, and the Democrats in... basically... a strip mall shopping center. The ole Robin Hood view! The mean ole rich guys beating up on the poor defenseless weak. Give me a break! Even James Baker's jet is bigger than the Democrats! LOL
The movie constantly slams, distorts, and fictionalizes the truth. But... they will get away with it... because "they" are Hollywood.
I have no problem with a difference of opinions, as long as I get a fair voice. But since I do not own a major movie studio, have millions of dollars to promote my view, etc... I find it offensive for Hollywood, etal to promote their political beliefs, and even (such as in this movie) re-write history.
Notice that they have yet to make a movie about the Nixon - Kennedy election, where a very similar situation occurred. That is because Nixon, a Republican, conceded without throwing a "fit" as Gore did.
Hollywood, the media, and news agencies are constantly looking for a conspiracy, and if they cannot legitimately find one, they make a movie about it, and call it the truth.
The one "vote" I do have is to cancel my HBO... which I will do tomorrow! And you can bet your "hanging chad" that I will tell them why!
The HBO film "Recount" takes us all back to a time that most of us would rather forget. Those wild crazy and confusing days back in the autumn of 2000 when for some 35 days after the Presidential Election nobody knew who was to be our next and 43th President of the United States.
In the late evening of Election Day November 7, 2000 it looked like, with it being called by most of the news pundits on TV, that Vice President Al Gore had won Florida with its 25 electoral votes and just about clinched the presidency. In less then a hour later it was announced by FOX News that Florida was still up in the air giving Gore's opponent Texas Governor Gerorge W. Bush a new lease on life in him getting into the White House.
By the early morning of November 8, 2000 it was announced that GW Bush in fact had taken Florida and the presidency. But as the vote was examined, on internet news sites, by Gore's campaign workers it was noted that over 170,000 votes in the Sunshine State had either been thrown out or not counted at all! This made Bush's victory in Florida of about 1,800 votes, out of a total of over 6,000,000, over Gore look if not fishy a bit suspicious at the least!
Not all all conceding, which he at first did, Gore has his campaign workers go into full political guerrilla warfare mode in trying to get to the bottom of what exactly happened to the missing 170,000 votes that, if they all were counted, would very possibly have given him the keys to the White House.
The film "Recount" canonicals the grueling 36 days after the 2000 Election that had the Republicans and Democrats slug it out in court as well as on the streets in trying to get their man to be confirmed as president. With the Republicans having their ace in the hole in Florida's Secretary of State Katherine Harris, Laura Dern, being the person to do the confirming. Harris is not only a Repubican but GW Bush's campaign manager, appointed by GW's brother Florida Governor Jeb Bush, in the state of Florida! So we all, Democrat Republican and Independent, knew just where her sympathies lie.
Heading the Gore team is disgruntled, he was canned by Gore earlier in the campaign, Ron Kline, Kevin Spacey, as well as former President Bill Clinton cabinet member Warren Christopher, John Hurt. Unlike the hard hitting and take no prisoners, or BS, from the Republicans Ron Kline his good friend and fellow Democrat party strategist Christopher wasn't exactly up to the task facing him. That's in Christopher opting in trying to be Mr. Clean instead of fighting the dirty game of politics that Kline was more then ready and willing to conduct. And at the same time what the determined and no holds bar Republicans headed by GW Bush family lawyer James Baker, Tom Wilkinson, was more then willing to pursue.
The grueling court battles over the vote count had Bush's lead of some 1,800 votes cut to just over 500 with the Democrats foolishly throwing away their, and Al Gore's, chance to win the election by opting in having the votes counted in only four of Florida's 67 voting districts. This had tens of thousands of possible Gore votes not only thrown away but disfranchising those who voted!
In an unprecedented move the US Supreme Court stepped in, with Baker and Co. urging, and settled the dispute by stopping the vote count, with some tens of thousands of Florida voters votes left in limbo! The Court of the Land declared GW Bush the winner with a whopping 537 vote over Al Gore in the state of Florida with the vast majority of the uncounted vote left uncounted! What made this decision so obnoxious was that the court declared that it's actions are only in regard to the 2000 Election, in getting GW Bush the presidency, and will never be done again even under the exact same circumstances! In short it was a one shot deal to get Bush Jr. elected before the vote count, that still had some two days left to be counted, went against him!
The Republican Party that always prided itself in championing "States Rights" went against that very principle by getting GW Bush the Presidency of the United States. With the Florida Supreme Court ruling in the Democrats favor in continuing the vote count Baker & Co. went over their heads in having the US Supreme Court overrule them. This in a "State Rights" case that they the US Supreme Court, who's job is only to interpret the US Constitution, had no business at all in handling!
P.S As for loser Al Gore he went on to bigger and better things. Gore ended up winning both a Nobel Peace Prize and Academy Award in his life long crusade to educated the American public, as well as people of the world, to the world-wide threats that face our planet in the very real dangers of "Global Warming".
A fairly gripping political drama, well acted, and of course with historic filling. I realized just as the credits ran, however, that what had me going throughout was the events, the history, the reliving of a time that seemed to intense an unjust (or at least dubiously just). It wasn't the movie that drove the event, but the other way around.
And so it is with this kind of re-enactment of a big event.
However, there is a sudden letdown after all. I mean, after all, what else is there? Knowing what happened and visualizing it anew isn't quite great cinema.
Even though this is a great telling of those facts. Which is how you come to appreciate and judge it by the end. And it's not enough.
I watched it with someone who didn't live in the U.S. at the time, and had little information about the contested Gore v. Bush election battles. And without me explaining certain events it hovered as an abstract comment on the insider problems of election process. That sounds pretty dull, doesn't it? (She was asleep by the end, and I was not, which says something, but not everything.) Because in fact the contents are pretty dull stuff.
Which makes the movie more remarkable, I suppose—it makes exciting what is a legal maneuvering, office room discussion, telephone call kind of movie. The fact it ever happened is no surprising, given the other options in other countries. But the details are astounding, and those details—from the people cheering when the votes won't get counted to the concession, finally, by the loser—are all telling. About the system, about human nature.
And about rising above to find our better natures. Some of us, some of the time.
Over the last year I have watched this film many times and I must say as always HBO does it again. Their original film work is top notch it's always relevant and the acting blended in with actual news shots of realism is super. "Recount" one of the best films ever made from their original collection replays and goes in depth in a very informative and interesting retelling of the 2000 presidential contest between Al Gore and George W. Bush. As it highlights the chaos and drama that occurred during the Florida recount all up until the Supreme Court decision.
Starting election night when you see that it's to close to call with the call hanging in the balance down in the sunshine state. From the get go it's like you as the viewer are reliving the 2000 election all over again. You see the info revealed the ballot punch cards in Florida were in question so Ron Klain(played wonderfully by Kevin Spacey) advises Mr. Gore to challenge for a recount as the AP has reported a much closer race than the networks who have already declared a W. victory. Then legal challenge after legal challenge occurs as each acquire a legal team to fight the Florida election boards and state supreme courts.
As your caught up with the intrigue and drama of the film from the behind the scenes strategy planning of legal and political tricks, you see clearly that Gore's team was not aggressive enough as Warren Christopher former secretary of state will not put up as much of a backyard dogfight brawl like the Republican side. As you see ex secretary of state and Bush family friend attorney James Baker(played to perfection by Tom Wilkinson) who's crafty and sly as a fox who will do anything to win. Even though the makers of this film like all Hollywood people tend to favor the Democrats and liberals still it was nice they portrayed Gore's team as weak and not as aggressive which was true. Then on the other hand I disagree with their other take which I know was just liberal mischief making a laugh at a wicked witch Republican Florida secretary of State Katherine Harris. Even though Harris was played to form by Laura Dern still this film portrays her as to stupid and to obsessed with the limelight of the media focus of attention and flashing lights. Even if you didn't like Katherine Harris and her ways of handling the recount still the film should have portrayed her more in an elegant and classy manner as for real Mrs. Harris is a beautiful and sexy woman for the political world.
Just like the old days of 2000 all during this film it's back and fourth bickering, fussing, and legal challenge after challenge as one side tries to outwit, outsmart and trick the other during the sunshine state recount. As it goes all the way up to the U.S. supreme court. Once again HBO does it again with an original of a real live event that's done to perfection making us relive the most memorable and controversial U.S. presidential election in history. As everyone remembers late 2000 being focused to their TV's and all the time thinking of Florida and the recount. Plus from watching this film as many already know it highlights a lot of what is wrong with our U.S. political election system from punch ballot cards with chads, the popular vote, electoral college, racial profiling, polling firms, and most of all proving that when courts decide elections it's bad because it's just like people having their mouths duct taped of freedom of democracy and speech.
This movie was totally unknown to me when I by coincidence discovered it because it aired on TV. (It's a TV movie after all). I think it deserves to be more well-known among people. American politics has always been of interest to me, and this was highly entertaining. I remember the mess, arguing and total chaos that was the Presidential election Florida recount, but I couldn't remember all the details. This movie takes you through everything that happened in a way that you don't want to stop watching. It's really entertaining, sometimes I think it's borders to comedy, but that's not a problem. In fact, the whole situation in 2000 was almost a comedy in itself. Before I watched this, I feared that it would have the typical liberal viewpoint that so many political movies have thus making them hard to watch. Luckily, I felt that it was quite neutral all the way through and managed to show the situation from both sides. That's a big plus. Also, the acting is great in this movie.
"Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything." - Josef Stalin.
RECOUNT is another nail in the "democracy" coffin. Even for those who detest politics, this movie unfolds like a thriller rather than a dusty legal doc.
Surely no one in Amerika believes the lie of "One Man One Vote"? Surely no one believes their vote "counts"? It's not that everyone's vote doesn't count. The lowest-rung incompetents empowered with the fate of the country and, by association, the world, do count the majority of votes, sure. But a bigger percentage than would make anyone feel comfortable simply gets thrown out, lost, disqualified, unregistered, purged, re-directed, or - cue duplicity on toast - RECOUNTED.
Back in 2000, Republican liar and nitwit, George W. Bush, stole the American presidency from Democrat man-bear-pig Al Gore on the strength of confusion generated by a disturbingly imperfect, manual voting system exacerbated by disturbingly imperfect manual morons.
Written by Danny Strong and directed by Jay Roach, RECOUNT tells the backstage story of the infamous Florida Recount, from the hanging chad to the purged felons. Well-researched, well-written, well-directed; myriad events on their own separate tracks or classified at the time, now juxtaposed into a cogent story of deceit, apathy, misfeasance and malfeasance that rivals the most twisted pulp fiction Hollywood can rat-spit.
Kevin Spacey is Ron Klain, Al Gore's ex-Chief of Staff, who returns to the Democrat fold when, during the last stages of the 2000 presidential election, a computer glitch necessitates a recount of votes in Florida. The winner in Florida would win the presidency.
Denis Leary is excellent as a Gore strategist and Klain's right-hand; his pivotal scene is explaining the significance of "chad." The chad was the perforated stub that voters had to punch out on their ballot cards. Chad (plural: chad) were notorious for "hanging" from their perforations if they were not fully punched out, and counting machines sometimes re-sealed these "hanging chad" as the cards were fed through. This meant the person's vote did not register. To exacerbate problems, the ballot cards were "butterfly ballot" design, that confused people who rarely use their brains - that would be 90% of voters - many votes accidentally cast for Pat Buchanan's Reform Party.
The Democrats sue for a recount - and the Republicans roll out their big gun lawyer: James Baker (Tom Wilkinson), Reagan's Chief of Staff and George H.W. Bush's Secretary of State. Ed Begley Jr. is dyslexic Democrat lawyer, David Boies, while Bob Balaban plays snide Republican lobbyist and Baker's right-hand, Ben Ginsberg.
In Florida law, if the vote difference between candidates is less than 30,000, every county has to run their ballots through the machines a second time - an automatic recount. Bush versus Gore was so close, an auto recount was assured... But 18 of the 67 counties didn't run their ballots a second time, leaving 1.5 million votes uncounted.
What happens NOW in a "democracy"? Confusion.
Not only were 1.5 mil uncounted; it is well-documented that every time the ballot cards are run through the machines, the total is different - because the chad get pummeled: mangled, resealed, hanging, tearing, swinging, dimpled...
Clueless Katherine Harris (Laura Dern), airheaded Republican Secretary of State of Florida, is called upon to adjudicate the recount.
Every time it looks like the Democrats have lost the Recount legal battle, they get reprieve after reprieve, pushing back the deadline date for recounts, gaining numbers, gaining credibility...
At one point, when hand recounts are called for and the Republicans protest the method, Klain uncovers a statue in Texas that cites hand recounts as the "preferred method" - signed into law by Texas's then-governor - George W. Bush.
It is amazing to realize what a JUDAS WHORE Joe Lieberman was even way back in 2000, while he was on the Vice President's ticket with Gore, no less! Actual footage shows Leiberman on MEET THE PRESS, insisting undated military votes should be counted (swinging the votes in Bush's favor) - after he was expressly advised by Klain that they shouldn't be counted because with no post-mark.
If the country was as non-partisan as this movie, there might have been a different outcome - it's painfully regretful to imagine that one thread of time unravels in that non-W direction, like a sci-fi scenario - but the Republicans overlorded Florida: not only was Harris stultifying recounting; Florida's governor was George W.'s mildly-Special-Olympics brother, Jeb.
Katherine Harris declares Bush winner before anything had been resolved and (true to Republican form) she lies outright: "Democracy has triumphed once again" (though democratic processes were not used).
The Dems escalated the case to the Supreme Court in the now-infamous Bush vs. Gore.
History tells us Bush won, the Supremes decreeing there was just not enough time to recount everything (geez! You'd think each citizen wanted their vote to matter or something!). The actual numbers tell a different story - but we'll never discover it, all the ballot cards with their accusatory chad relegated to a subterranean vault guarded by a Balrog.
Hhere's the stinger for you democracy-lovers and in-denial-amerikans: Florida legislature planned to award the 25 Florida electoral votes to Bush ANYWAY. No matter the outcome of the recount.
Ergo, your vote, counted or not: useless.
Movie ends on a nauseous note - Bush's acceptance speech. The last scene shows Bush and Gore in split screen, acceptance and concession speeches, both ending on the same words, "God bless America." Only one of them meant it.
At first I did not intend to comment on this film, for it largely spoke for itself. But in retrospect I now feel a strong need to refute those who have claimed this film is inaccurate and/or strongly biased. How anyone can claim this film misportrays the events of late 2000 is dumbfounding considering that the film itself includes the actual CNN and other news clips of the events in its own trailer. The dialog of the film is exact, its portrayals spot-on. In fact, as a film devotee I feel qualified to state that of all the historical films I've seen this is one of the most accurate. Wide liberties were not taken. How could they have been? We know the outcome, we know the players, the court rulings are on record, and the protagonists were on camera constantly.
It is not right for IMDb users to post "reviews" on here that are tainted by THEIR bias. Just because they oppose statements in a film does not give them the right to claim the film is inaccurate, any more than it was right of Gore to cherry pick which counties to recount or Bush to oppose any county recount. This is a film that is not fundamentally about either Gore or Bush but about the people of Florida whose votes were not ultimately counted. And the film does a wonderful job of making the viewer realize just how important each and every vote is and how critical it is that nobody be disenfranchised. For that it deserves every accolade it receives. The film does not have a liberal bias, it has a reality bias. Sometimes reality has a liberal bias and this may have been one of those times. Giving the film an unfairly-low ranking or review will not change that.
Way back, just after Election 2000, the recount was the big political story, and remained so right up until 9/11, when everything changed.
I remember reading all the books as soon as they came out. The early books focused on all the personal stories, such as voting irregularities in Black neighborhoods, recount shenanigans, Gore votes lost from butterfly ballots, and Bush votes lost in the Florida pan-handle.
Later books discussed the legal arguments. Posner gave a strong defense of the US Supreme Court's decision, while Dershowitz attacked the decision as intellectually dishonest. Not surprisingly, no one bothered to defend the Florida Supreme Court's decisions.
Both campaigns appealed to high ideals: Bush wanted to follow clear rules and procedures to the letter, and avoid fuzzy rules that could turn an orderly process into chaos; Gore wanted to count all the votes and determine as near as possible who the voters intended to vote for.
The point I'm trying to make is that Election 2000 was not those sneaky Republicans against those righteous Democrats, or vice versa . Both sides engaged in less-than-pure actions, and both sides had legitimate legal arguments. The district court judges in Florida, although all appointed by Democrats, agreed with the legal arguments of Bush. The Florida Supreme Court sided with Gore, but ultimately was very divided. The US Supreme Court sided with Bush, but was also very divided.
These facts are very poorly presented in the HBO movie, which is clearly attempting to revise history, now that so many memories have faded, and now that Bush's popularity has declined. Mostly the movie gets it's facts straight, but selects and frames those facts to favor the Democrats. When dealing with back-room politics, the movie often simply makes up facts to portray Republicans in a bad light.
Recount is surprisingly well made, with excellent acting, and pretty decent writing. Unfortunately this movie decided on a clear political agenda, rather than attempting a fair presentation of the facts.
Watch CNN's Election 2000 video instead, which is much more fair, and is too early to be considered revisionist.