A suicidally disillusioned liberal politician puts a contract out on himself and takes the opportunity to be bluntly honest with his voters by affecting the rhythms and speech of hip-hop music and culture.
Senator Jay Bulworth is facing speculation-induced financial ruin, so he puts out a contract on his own life in order to collect a large, new insurance policy for his family. Living each moment on borrowed time, he suddenly begins spouting raw, unfiltered--and sometimes offensive in word but satirical in spirit -- thoughts to shocked audiences and handlers in the speech of hip-hop music and culture. His newfound uninhibitedness and new relationship with Nina carry him on a journey of political and spiritual renewal.Written by
Bulworth is not a film that could have been made by just anybody. Though many people probably share a lot of the same viewpoints expressed in the film, it probably took someone of Warren Beatty's clout to actually sit down and write it all out, then believably pitch it to a studio. Bulworth is a biting satire of "politics as usual". The film does itself a favor and never takes itself too seriously. Some of the names of real politicians that get thrown around tend to date this film, but we're still debating virtually every issue it brings up.
The film's first half hour is its best. It begins in the office of California Senator J. Billingotn Bulworth (Beatty). It is nighttime, and he sits alone watching a series of his own commercials airing just in time for the upcoming primary. Senator Bulworth is crying like a baby as each commercial repeats the same empty platitudes over and over again. It is obvious that he has been advised to sound like a centrist, even though that is not where his heart lies. On the walls of his office are pictures of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Bobby Kennedy. People who died for their beliefs. Bulworth is just selling his out to get re-elected, and the whole process has become more than he can bare. Later on that morning, we see Senator Bulworth pay a man to put a contract out on his life. He feels he has nothing left to live for, and he wants a big insurance settlement to go to his daughter after he is killed. He is planning on being hit once he returns to California to campaign. Once Senator Bulworth gets back to his home state, things take one wild turn after another.
We see the Senator now feel free to express exactly what he feels in public. He lambastes the congregation of a black church for rallying behind O.J. Simpson, and tells them not to expect anything good to come their way until they can offer more money to elected officials. Later on, he shows up at a party full of Jewish Hollywood types and basically tells them to stop making such crappy movies. He follows three young black women into an after hours club in South Central L.A., and basically learns how to rap overnight. Yes! From this point on, Senator Bulworth begins rapping his views in public, and understandably causing a major fracas wherever he goes. Making things worse for his stunned advisers is the fact that a C-SPAN crew is following him around everywhere, so all of this eccentricity is being broadcast all over.
The plot takes many twists and turns. Some work, and some do not. Bulworth falls in love with a young black woman named Nina who is not what she seems to be. He still has a contract out on his life throughout the whole film, as well. Once he starts speaking what's really on his mind, he decides he doesn't want to die after all. The trouble is, he cannot get the hit called off due to other complications. The film spends its last half hour in the hood of L.A. where it seems to ramble a bit too much and lose the sharper focus it had in its earlier scenes. The conclusion is a bit unexpected, but I liked it. I liked it quite a bit, I must say.
The acting is exceptional. Beatty is what he is. Halle Berry is so freaking lovely as Nina! There are numerous cameos from famous media types and the entire cast is solid from top to bottom. The film doesn't strike all the right chords, but it hits enough of them. No matter which side of the political debate one finds themselves on, wouldn't it be nice just to hear a politician say what he/she truly believes? 8 of 10 stars.
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