Friday 9 November 2012

"Grassroots" (Guardian 09/11/12)

Grassroots (15) 98 mins ***

It sank without trace in the States, yet this true-life ballot-box saga proves very likable, if a little Sorkin-lite. At its heart are two young men trying to reclaim Seattle politics from the pros: Grant Cogswell (Joel David Moore), a self-righteous, somewhat bratty leftie gradually transformed into a sincere-sounding alternative, and Phil Campbell (a thoughtful Jason Biggs), the ex-journo who raised a small volunteer army to help staff the campaign. Adapted from Campbell’s memoir Zioncheck for President, it’s alert to both the romance of the stump (like-minded, passionate souls on late-night flyposting missions) and the political nitty-gritty: crucially, Cogswell’s genial opponent (Cedric the Entertainer, unusually subtle and effective) was the city’s sole black representative. Stephen Gyllenhaal crafts a couple of rousing election-night sequences, but can’t quite make the ending resonate – unless we see Cogswell’s story as the first, faint stirrings of the Occupy movement. 

Grassroots opens in selected cinemas from today.

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