Type: Review
Pages: 2 | Words: 590
Reading Time: 3 Minutes

A Perfect Candidate is a 1996 American documentary recreating the theatrical events of the 1994 US elections campaign of Oliver North who was contending for the Virginia senate seat. Written and directed by R.J. Cutler and David Van Taylor, the screenplay brings into light the story of Oliver North and his main political opponent Chuck Robb. However, a lot of focus is made on North’s campaign strategists Mark Goodin and Mark Merritt, who are portrayed as very ruthless and cunning in their actions.

On the other hand, the cameras also bring into attention one cynical reporter named Don Bakerwho writes for the Washington Post. The reporter writes about the campaign with a twist of sarcasm. North, who is vying for the senate seat, portrays himself as a staunch Christian candidate of right-wing political views and tries using his faith as a great tool to campaign. Oliver North’s campaign strategists draw comparisons between him and Elvis, whereas Oliver, on the other hand, even compares himself to Jesus in some occasion. This draws a lot of criticism making Baker to even call him a political demagogue.

Questions surround Oliver North’s involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal which his opponents use as a weakness to campaign against him. He is accused of lying to the Congress. On the one hand, he claims to want to set the record straight, and his campaign employs a former hostage David Jacobsen to champion for Mr. North’s presumed good intentions. On the contrary, North constantly tries to set himself from allegations about lying to Congress, for which he was convicted of perjury. Meanwhile, his political foe Robb is also struggling to deal with a political scam that has tainted his image.

This political competition seems to be caused by his personal undoing. Robb hardly shows any sign and lacks the commitment to taking any concrete position or any particular issue. He is rather indecisive and indifferent. Robb’s political campaign was largely based on the fact that he was facing a more awful political opponent than himself. As the film follows more unfolding events of the political campaigns, another independent candidate, who is also a former Democratic Governor of Virginia, named Doug Wilder, throws his hat in the game and poses a challenge to his perennial political rival Robb. However, a visit by Bill Clinton makes him change his position, and he decides to relinquish his senate ambitions. Instead, he opts to drop out of the race and assist Goodin to defeat North.

The movie gives a fascinating story about the political intrigues that go on behind the scenes. The fact that the movie was released just months to the General Election undeniably gave it extreme relevance, especially for disillusioned voters. The forthcoming election for them was not going to have an impact on their lives. In fact, it was likely to make matters worse considering the behavior that the two gentlemen had shown. As they usually say it in America, politicians are all wolves, and as people go into elections, they only line up to vote for the next hyena to feast on them for the next four years. In that election, Oliver North ended up as the most likeable figure ever to appear on the ballot, always attracting mammoth crowds wherever he took his campaigns.

In conclusion, this movie gives the best insight on the reality of American politics. With the kind of exposition, it focuses on the personal life of most politicians; the movie can be sufficient to make the voters make informed decisions on how to vote for their leaders.

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