Bulworth - rated - STONE COLD


It is incredibly rare for me to say this about a film. Usually I can see something in a film to make me recommend it. But this one was just disappointing!

If your idea of a good movie is watching a pseudo-liberal philosopher spout appalling rap lyrics, whilst cast opposite someone who looks young enough to be his granddaughter, then you might enjoy Bulworth - that is if you can stand seeing the few good jokes in the film done to death by repetition. Is saying the unsayable over and over again still saying the unsayable?

If that's not bad enough, Beatty has also misused the talents of film greats: Vittorio Storaro for one. Storaro does manage to make his mark on the film - especially in the "rave" scene in the South Central club, when Beatty dances with Halle Berry. It is one of the few scenes where Beatty doesn't look absolutely ridiculous. But Ennio Morricone seems the wrong choice of composer for a film which has as its premise that rap is the intellectual centre of black politics. Even the choice of the rap music is difficult to appreciate - we have no context for it.

I think it is a poverty of ideas which is at the nub of the film's problems. It is a simple-minded film indeed which, on the eve of the year 2000, shows black kids spouting a sort of socio-economic cant which, it is implied, will solve all the problems of American blacks. The film then invites us to laugh at rich white people from Beverly Hills who are being insulted (a soft target indeed). And it ends by showing us a black gangland boss and drug dealer - who has been using kids who are barely out of nappies as runners - setting up a neighbourhood social help and education centre. Come on!

The film's not totally devoid of good things, however, The good things include Halle Berry, who lights up every scene she appears in, Storaro's photography, especially in the dance sequence, the first few scenes with Bulworth in despair in his office, the outrageous insults Bulworth flings at the blacks in church, and the George Hamilton jokes. The bad things are too numerous to list. I'll just give you the 3 worst: Beatty trying to do this kind of comedy, Beatty trying to rap, and the prospect of Beatty ending up with Halle Berry.