Bob Roberts (1992)

Posted: May 28, 2009 in Joe Giambrone
Tags: , ,

BOB ROBERTS

Get the DVD: Bob Roberts

“And they complain and complain and complain and complain and complain.” –Bob

Bob Roberts is one of the most hard-hitting, smart, and funny political satires ever produced in the U.S. This is a “mockumentary” supposedly produced by a British team assigned to cover the senatorial campaign of Bob Roberts.

Roberts (Tim Robbins) is running to be senator of Pennsylvania, and he is up against Gore Vidal’s incumbent character, a tired, worn-out pragmatist.

As a mockumentary, everything plays as in real time, and the camera runs on, much as This Is Spinal Tap (Special Edition DVD) purported to do previously. Both films are great, and they grab the viewer and never let go.

The “crypto-fascist clown” Roberts is also on a folk-music tour for the entire film. He has combined reactionary-right “folk” music, his stock trading operation, and his political campaign into one tsunami of entertainment and political intrigue.

Tim Robbins, we find out, can actually sing as Roberts twists around Bob Dylan type protest songs into mangled anthems of nationalism and greed.

The lyrics are “Let the Eagle Soar” button-pushers. One could imagine Ashcroft and Condi Rice belting out a few of Roberts’ fictional songs, if the real world crypto-fascist clowns were unaware of the authorship.

Even the media’s ownership is fair game, something hardly ever seen in this country. The “Saturday Night Live” type variety show is called out. John Cusack, the “host,” and one of the show’s producers rebel against “corporate” and their accommodation of Roberts on the eve of the election.

This is a high-stakes battle, seemingly for the soul of America. Roberts is the new breed of corporate authoritarians, and his ruthless immorality seeks to sweep away the old more liberal status quo.

Characters represent Iran/Contra styled insiders. Alan Rickman plays an Oliver North type covert law-breaker. He’s on Roberts’ staff.

Bugs Raplin, played flawlessly by Giancarlo Esposito, is Roberts’ nemesis. A radical journalist in search of the truth is the enemy of the crypto-fascist. It’s all so well done, I can’t recommend this film highly enough. Funny and yet terrifying because as far as it goes on a limb, it’s probably still not far enough.

See also:

Spinal Tap on Blu-Ray
This Is Spinal Tap [Now on Blu-ray]

This Is Spinal Tap (Special Edition DVD)

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  1. […] BOB ROBERTS (1992) – Netflix link here. […]

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