Ritchie and Redford's follow-up to Downhill Racer is one of the more intelligent films to have been made about political machinations in America. Redford plays an idealistic young lawyer, concerned with grass roots issues, refusing to play the media games that are so much part of the political campaign he becomes involved in, and determined to do and say exactly what he feels. But gradually the desire for the power by which he can implement his ideas leads him into fatal compromise. A fairly obvious story, perhaps, but one that is helped enormously both by Ritchie's reluctance to move away from simulated realism into melodramatic plotting, and by his customary generosity, clear-eyed and unsentimental, towards his characters. And the trap of blaming the inexorable move towards compromise and sellout either on a lone individual (which would suggest that otherwise everything would be all right) or on the system (a vague concept which would excuse the protagonist) is carefully avoided. Rather, the symbiotic relationships into which Redford and his agents, publicists and colleagues willingly, if reluctantly, allow themselves to fall, make for a far more thorough depiction of the seductive nature of power.
Cast and crew