Rachel Boynton’s “Our Brand is Crisis”: Reloaded with Clooney and Bullock

Rachel Boynton's "Our Brand is Crisis": Reloaded with Clooney and Bullock

How cool is it that Rachel Boynton’s 2005 documentary “Our Brand is Crisis” is being re-made as a new film directed by David Gordon Green and starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, and is now gaining traction in the tabloids. With pictures of a blonde Bullock spreading virally across the internet on the film’s New Orleans set, the film is gaining the kind of publicity that Boynton’s timely and important documentary wouldn’t have received in a million years.

A portrait of idealistic Washington strategists working to elect the next president of Bolivia, and the unforeseen realities that intervene, “Our Brand is Crisis” was a particularly piquant look at America’s penchant for “spreading democracy around the world,” as Boynton told me once. “I think it’s important that people realize what we actually mean when we’re ‘spreading democracy’ overseas.”

And like Boynton’s tragically underseen follow-up “Big Men,” she paints a surprisingly sympathetic portrait of her spin-doctors, however Machiavellian their overarching goals might be.

The Hollywood film is likely to fuel digital sales of Boynton’s nonfiction film, currently available to buy on iTunes, and I can’t think of a better reason for the new adaptation to exist. Imagine all the great docs that could get a push from the public’s interest in factual stories if Hollywood came calling. What’s next: “Salesman,” starring Liam Neeson; “The Thin Blue Line,” with Matthew McConaughey and Casey Affleck? One can only hope. 

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