Recount

  • Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: May 25, 2008
User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 35 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 35
  2. Negative: 9 out of 35

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User Reviews

  1. JudyT.
    May 30, 2008
    8
    Very well done. Great acting, great dialog and really informative for anyone who thinks they know what went on. Really showed the travesty of democracy that was the 2000 election.
  2. BobC.
    Jun 11, 2008
    9
    If this movie isn't at least a 9, I don't know what is. What a professional reenactment of a chilling, stupid, funny, serious and scary incident. G. W. was crowned and the world knows how THAT panned out. Great cast, great direction, great script.
  3. MarvinH.
    May 26, 2008
    10
    Thought the movie was well to the point and frustrations that the American people endured during that time, Looking at the times that we are having today only makes you wish that the movie could have had an alternate ending that could have came to pass.
  4. GeraldF.
    May 27, 2008
    9
    Great marriage of character and narrative. An interesting study in egos at the highest level, and the remarkable moments when the actual human beings break through. Great ensemble cast, with Dern and Wilkinson standing out. It really gives you a sense of how insane you would have to be to want to swim in those waters on a regular basis and how the politica machine itself irrevocabley Great marriage of character and narrative. An interesting study in egos at the highest level, and the remarkable moments when the actual human beings break through. Great ensemble cast, with Dern and Wilkinson standing out. It really gives you a sense of how insane you would have to be to want to swim in those waters on a regular basis and how the politica machine itself irrevocabley changes your moral compass. Expand
  5. ElliottM.
    Jun 1, 2008
    2
    Annoying acted and very poorly written. I'm as irked as the next person about the 2000 election debacle, but this is pathetic.
  6. Chrisinflorida
    May 25, 2008
    10
    excellent. Especially Dern who gets Harris down perfectly.
  7. WilliamB.
    May 26, 2008
    9
    This was gripping and outstanding from start to finish. No matter your political affiliations (or afflictions) this was a spot-on docudrama, and much better than anything I've seen in a theatre in many months.
  8. TimC.
    May 26, 2008
    9
    Great drama, made recent history come alive and worked as an entertaining political drama better than I thought it could....Cast is great, Wilkinson stood out to me.
  9. NikitaG.
    May 26, 2008
    10
    A true and disgusting story that was beautifully told! Great acting. Surprisingly decent accuracy. Every American should see this film, especially those who were confused by the B.S. "politician" jumbo that was spewed at the time of the events. Kudos!!!
  10. TrxtrKin
    May 28, 2008
    9
    I thought it was a very entertaining look at the recount of 2000. I am sure it will be seen as just another liberal offering but then everything but FOX is these days. Unfortunately, people won't watch the movie and make their own judgements.
  11. Ron
    May 28, 2008
    6
    I give it high marks for entertainment, like a political Indiana Jones. But I give it low marks for not being much more accurate than Indiana Jones. Portrayal of Harris was just cartoonish.
  12. MelissaD.
    May 30, 2008
    9
    My husband and I have watched this over and over again. We truly enjoy it, and love knowing a little more about what went on.
  13. TroyK.
    May 30, 2008
    3
    This was awful from the start. This could've been really, really good...but it fell really, really flat. It was more of another left wing spin film that didn't even attempt to capture the essence nor complexity of the situation. It was disappointing, but reminds me of why I shouldn't support HBO with my monthly fees.
  14. PeterA.
    May 25, 2008
    9
    I've seen the film, and I was surprised how it challenged my (Democratic) preconceptions. Although it was a tough legal battle, I wasn't able to put my finger on anything that the Republicans did that was so terribly wrong in this "street fight for the presidency." (The only exception was the purging of the voting rolls, something that happened long before the story began.) What I've seen the film, and I was surprised how it challenged my (Democratic) preconceptions. Although it was a tough legal battle, I wasn't able to put my finger on anything that the Republicans did that was so terribly wrong in this "street fight for the presidency." (The only exception was the purging of the voting rolls, something that happened long before the story began.) What "docudrama" can ever be the final word on any moment of history? It can't. But the drama can provoke us into examining the facts -- and our prejudices. Expand
  15. Jul 29, 2017
    6
    A recounting of the Recount in the aftermath of the 2000 Presidential election, Jay Roach's Recount is a made-for-HBO film that, as always, features a truly stacked cast. Focusing on the election, the hanging chad issue, and the ensuing legal battles in Florida and in the United States Supreme Court, the film is a truly riveting re-enactment of the events that transpired. However, it doesA recounting of the Recount in the aftermath of the 2000 Presidential election, Jay Roach's Recount is a made-for-HBO film that, as always, features a truly stacked cast. Focusing on the election, the hanging chad issue, and the ensuing legal battles in Florida and in the United States Supreme Court, the film is a truly riveting re-enactment of the events that transpired. However, it does feel entirely confined by its true story. Throughout, it is a film that feels too much like a re-enactment and not like a film, instead playing out like a History channel documentary that has people acting out the scenes that historians are discussing in interviews. This, along with some pro-Democrat bias along the way, does undermine Recount in the end, no matter how riveting its re-telling of the events surrounding the election are.

    One of the most controversial moments of the 21st Century, the events and circumstances surrounding the election of George W. Bush as President over Al Gore are riveting. Director Jay Roach's film benefits from the natural tension of its story, delivering a constantly spell-binding political thriller. With an impassioned central performance from Kevin Spacey as Ron Klain, Gore's former Chief of Staff and a member of the team pursuing legal recourse, the film is one loaded with tension as Klain fights for what is right: counting the votes. Whether Bush or Gore won, finding out who everybody voted for in the archaic system used by Florida is the central issue. If Gore won, great. If Bush won, at least it was determined in a fair fashion. As Klain, Spacey delivers much of the emotion and tension in the film, being portrayed as a real American patriot. Despite his being on the Gore campaign, he makes it clear that he is not even sure he likes Gore himself. He just wants the truth to come out, which is a truly noble cause. On the other side, the team put together by Bush including former Secretary of State James Baker (Tom Wilkinson) are easy to root against as they try to suppress votes at all turns, refusing to admit there are issues.

    Yet, therein lies the issue. As an underdog story, it is too easy to root for the Democrats and against the Republicans. Whether or not either side is the "bad guy" in this situation, Recount is a film that does try to be even in presentation, but never really succeeds. In particular, the portrayal of Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris (Laura Dern) is egregious. Dern is excellent, stealing the show entirely, but Harris is too comical, conceited, and stupid to be taken seriously. She is turned into a comedic punching bag, instead of a serious figure. Constantly shown as being the bad guy for not letting the Democrats push back the deadline - even if the law says she does not have to - Harris really does get a raw deal in the film. Here, the film really tips its hand as a Democrat-leaning work, further doubling down in its portrayal of Baker and Ben Ginsberg (Bob Balaban) as similarly comical figures who fight dirty (even if that is right route). By showing the Republicans as being dirty, corrupt, and employing lobbyists, Recount makes it too easy to root against them, even if the Democrats are just as bad as their opposition. Unfortunately, their determination to make their candidate president is shown as a heroic undertaking in the name of justice, which is not strictly true. Had Gore won, there is no way anybody on the blue side would care, instead they would play the same role as the Republicans: obstruction of recounting votes.

    However, even if it is somewhat biased, the film is definitely riveting. Portrayed in a pseudo-documentary style, Recount walks the audience through the events surrounding the recount and ensuing court cases. Never getting bogged down in the minutia and managing to stay light and entertainment in spite of its heavy subject matter. Unfortunately, in the process of walking through everything, the film's commitment to details and a somewhat fractured flow each time a new character or plot point is introduced leads the film to feeling like a re-enactment and not a film. While the acting is largely good, it never allows the actors to disappear into their characters, instead leaving them as obvious portrayals and representations of the people so deeply involved with the recount. This somewhat limited and restricted feeling is what makes the film feel so slight at the end, an element hardly benefited by the film's status as a made-for-TV work.
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Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 25
  2. Negative: 3 out of 25
  1. At one point, before a press conference, Dern morphs her face from that of a human being into Harris' crazy-cuckoo public mask, and the moment is absolutely chilling. Fair? Debatable, but like Recount, it's a gorgeous bit of political theater.
  2. Sure enough, HBO's "Recount" is replete with inside politics. But it also has well-written characters, first-class acting and confident directing, which produces a level of tension and suspense you wouldn’t expect in a story about a widely reported recent event.
  3. 80
    Written with an eye for telling detail by Danny Strong, and directed in surprisingly nimble fashion by blockbuster-comedy wrangler Jay Roach (of the Austin Powers movies and Meet the Parents fame), it has the peculiarly alchemic structure of a nail-biting tragi-farce.