Bush's Brain

  • Studio: Tartan
  • Release Date: Aug 27, 2004

Mixed or average reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 22
  2. Negative: 4 out of 22

Critic Reviews

  1. The film is a damning look at a key Bush operative.
  2. A skeptical view of George W. Bush's chief political strategist, Karl Rove, using argumentative strategies common to agenda-driven documentaries.
  3. 75
    One of the better political documentaries flooding into theaters after "Fahrenheit 9/11" and before the election.
  4. 75
    Potent if hardly evenhanded documentary.
  5. 70
    Full of enough legitimate red meat to incense salivating Democrats who can't wait to tear into a pound of Bush's flesh in November. Yet, this film should truly frighten partisans on both sides of the aisle.
  6. 63
    In a refreshing change of pace, this week's anti-Bush documentary, Bush's Brain, is not really about George W. Bush at all. It's about his senior political adviser, Karl Rove.
  7. 60
    A tad dry but never boring.
  8. The film leaves any opponent of the current administration with a discouraging ambivalence: On one hand, one wants to vehemently decry such tactics in American politics. On the other, one wants to know where the hell is the Democrats' Karl Rove?
  9. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    By turns darkly comical, seriously scary and purposefully incendiary, Bush's Brain may seem, depending on your politics, either a shamelessly one-sided assault on a popular U.S. president or a justifiably harsh critique of a politician who personifies the Peter Principle.
  10. 50
    The campaign's latest scare doc takes its title, Bush's Brain, and much of its argument from the portrait of political operative and bogeyman Karl Rove published last year by a pair of Dallas newsmen.
  11. Whether or not Bush's Brain makes its case against Mr. Rove, the movie leaves you with the sickening feeling that it's no longer possible in American politics to stay out of the gutter unless, of course, you want to lose. Dirty politics work.
  12. The movie feels like a rush job and at times its tactics are as suspect as those attributed to its subject. But when it comes to political strategy trumping policy in the Bush White House, it makes its case.
  13. 50
    The film basically follows Moore and Slater's book, but without the details that reveal the strange complexity of the Bush-Rove symbiosis.
  14. I’m not sure that depicting Rove as a demonic Wizard of Oz does much more than stir righteous indignation among the already indignant. A more pertinent and challenging mission would have been to show just how the public can be gulled by Rove's dirty tricks in the same ways again and again.
  15. Only partially convincing.
  16. 40
    Constructed out of poorly supported accusations, vague innuendo, and naked emotional appeals, Bush's Brain has a Rove-esque quality of its own.
  17. Introduces us to many who have known, worked and tangled with the man some call Bush's "co-president" during his multi-decade involvement in Republican politics.
  18. 40
    They succeed in presenting a compelling series of dots, to use the current parlance, but they don't succeed in connecting them.
  19. Even if the movie's only goal is to preach to the choir, its fondness for hyperbole and lack of discernment is more insult than rallying cry.
  20. The movie, which feels as amateurish as a student film made for cable access, doesn't deliver the goods; the gotcha moment never comes.
  21. Clearly the film is archly trying to connect the dots between Rove and the supreme mishandling of Iraq – and a compelling case might be made – but it isn't made here.
  22. 20
    Distributors are clearly scraping the bottom of the barrel with this flimsy exposé of presidential adviser Karl Rove.

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