Saturday 17 February 2024

Movie Review: Run This Town (2019)

Genre: Drama  
Director: Ricky Tollman  
Starring: Ben Platt, Mena Massoud, Nina Dobrev, Scott Speedman, Jennifer Ehle  
Running Time: 99 minutes  

Synopsis: In Toronto of 2012, Kamal (Mena Massoud) and Ashley (Nina Dobrev) are staffers for Mayor Rob Ford (Damian Lewis). Their boss works hard, but is also frequently drunk and abusive, and enjoys partying with gangsters. Young local reporter Bram (Ben Platt) is offered a sensational scoop: an alleged video of the Mayor smoking crack cocaine in the company of gang members. Bram has to convince his bosses (Scott Speedman and Jennifer Ehle) to let him pursue the story, while Kamal and Ashley confront Ford's increasingly unsavory behaviour.

What Works Well: The behind-the-scenes City Hall machinations carry some interest, and director Ricky Tollman injects dynamism with frequent use of split screens.

What Does Not Work As Well: Tollman the writer stumbles with a wayward script that starts with an awful context-free talky scene and never recovers. Lacking a rational anchor or meaningful perspective, what should have been a compelling true scandal story is fumbled into unfocused observations about millennial angst. Consumed by a urine-soaked colour palette, Kamal, Ashley, and Bram are saddled with dialogue that is much less clever than it thinks it is and remain far from worthwhile characters. Actor Damian Lewis suffers a worse fate inside a hideous fat suit. Ultimately resolving nothing, the hard-stop ending is merciful relief.

Conclusion: A scandalous waste of a juicy story.

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