In The Contender (2000), Jackson Evans, the President of the US (played by Jeff Bridges), is looking nominate a candidate for the vice-president’s post, a post which is empty because the vice-president passed away a couple of weeks ago. Evans is in the latter stages of his presidency and is looking to solidify his legacy.
He decides on Senator Laine Hanson (Joan Allen), who is a surprising choice. The confirmation hearings, led by Sheldon Runyon (Gary Oldman), promise to be difficult because of the nature of the questions faced by Sen. Hanson. The Contender is a perceptive look at the politics of Washington and the extent to which politicans stoop to include candidates’ personal lives into the public arena. The story’s tension is built up with the help of a good script and the movie is well-made.
Joan Allen is superb in her role as a senator and the vice-presidential nominee and deservedly received an Oscar nomination for her role. Jeff Bridges plays the President perfectly, and Gary Oldman, as the chairman of the committee, is marvellous.
Worth watching especially if you’re into movies set against a political backdrop.