Starring: Kevin Spacey, Tom Wilkinson, Laura Dern
Director: Jay Roach
Running Time: 116 mins
Recount is an American film about the story of the 2000 US presidential election, where a razor-thin margin of votes in the state of Florida led to a lengthy series of legal procedures and recounts to determine the country’s next leader.
The legacy of the 2000 US election is well-known, but Recount really gets to the crux of its controversial outcome with a detailed, impassioned and most of all historically enthralling portrayal of the weeks of legal and political wrangling that unfolded when a winner couldn’t be decided on the day of the election.
Complete with an excellent ensemble cast that includes Kevin Spacey, Tom Wilkinson, Laura Dern, John Hurt and more portraying a collection of major figures from the election campaigns, Recount is far more than a dry retelling of history, but a genuinely gripping and at times nail-biting depiction of how the future of a country can hang on such a small margin.
Thanks to strong direction from Jay Roach and an engrossing screenplay, Recount manages to tread the tightrope between full-blown historical drama and a more theatrical, emotional film really well, making for a film that’s just as informative as it is passionate.
It’s fair to say that this film has its own perspective on the way events unfolded in 2000, with a clear message about a variety of methods employed by Republicans to suppress Democrat votes. I have absolutely no idea if that’s the truth or even the full story, but it all comes back round to the most striking thing about this story: how just a handful of votes can change the destiny of an entire country.
With a brilliant eye for detail, Recount takes you deep, deep into the minds of the political and legal minds supervising the endless vote recounts in Florida, giving you an in-depth insight into what should count as a legal vote, and how different but still valid interpretations of the same legislation can create such a chaotic situation.
By the end of this film, you’ll be an expert on the mysteries of ‘hanging chads’, and it’s that informative nature which I really loved about Recount. Yes, its passion for the history helps to make its most intense moments genuinely nail-biting, but that detailed and mostly objective retelling of the history is absolutely enthralling from start to finish.
And while the almost excessively detailed focus of its story on complex legislation and unprecedented political battles might seem like the perfect recipe for a dry story, the significance of this story is such that you’ll be glued to the screen all the way through, while also drawing parallels to recent events.
Overall, I loved Recount. It admittedly isn’t quite as neutral as it perhaps intends to be, however with a passionate and most importantly detailed view of a riveting history, the film proves an enthralling watch from start to finish, with a nail-biting demonstration of just how much every vote can matter. So, that’s why I’m giving Recount a 7.6.