Adam Cook’s review:
HBO have a good track record of producing political drama. The TV movie, Recount, about the Florida electoral recounts during the 2000 elections was gripping television so I was intrigued to see how they would tackle the McCain-Palin campaign of 2008. Sadly, Game Change can’t match their earlier efforts with some of the problems coming from the film’s execution and some from the audience’s prior knowledge.
It is a handsomely produced film with strong performances across the board and a clever blending of fact and fiction. Julianne Moore’s uncanny portrayal of Pailin is naturally getting the headlines but it is Woody Harrelson as the campaign strategist that really steals the film. My issues with the film are that Palin is an easy target for this type of drama. It rightly attacks her and highlights her many, many failings but the film never quite goes deep enough in finding the person behind the frightening image. The fact the film is rather soapy in tone certainly doesn’t help make it a serious political drama either.
Unlike the behind the scenes dramas surrounding the Florida reelections, the McCain-Palin campaign was played out in the public. It means that, if you have a vague interest in politics, then there is little in this film that will come as much of a revelation. Despite this the film is still engaging throughout; it may offer very little sustenance but it is glossy and fun.