Election Night
  A Clear Winner
  Manual Tabulation
  Gore's Messages
  The False Call
  The Conspiracy
Palm Beach County
(Butterfly Ballot)
     Part 1
     Part 2
     Part 3
     Part 4
     Part 5
     Part 6
     Part 7
     Part 8
  "Recount" Study
  The Basics
HBO Recount - The Movie
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The (misleading) Story of the 2000 Presidential Election
Reviewed 5/28/2008 by yesnut

Recount is biased and misleading. While I am impressed that it captured many nuances of the events in Florida, the movie is a sympathetic restatement of Gore's quest. It elevates the faulty Gore effort as a noble journey towards justice.  Meanwhile, it presents the Bush side as merely a mechanical exercise of Republican power, having no merit at all.

The movie opens showing feeble senior citizens trying to work around an ultra-distorted version of the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County.  An old lady helplessly votes for Buchanan (Notice the woman is wearing the Star of David. Could a Jew actually vote for Pat Buchanan?  We are supposed to believe this is impossible.)  One can only imagine the film makers working hard to make the ballot look confusing.  "Cut! Pull the ballot down more so that the arrows don't line up!  We can do better than that!"

The biggest shame of this movie is its treatment of Katherine Harris (Florida's Secretary of State).  Bloggers and pundits have long enjoyed mocking her, but this film takes the trashing to a new low.  It presents her as completely idiotic, as someone who can barely walk, let alone make important legal decisions.  Its characterization is so radical it discredits the entire movie. Why should we believe anything in this film if it mocks a person simply because, apparently, it makes the creators feel good to do it?  Not only do the scenes of Katherine Harris fail because of their demeaning characterization, they ignore her legal decisions all together (which by the way, upheld Florida election law.)  It presents her simply as a mindless puppet of the Republican Party, nothing more.

At one very dramatic point in the movie we are to believe that Katherine Harris falsely labeled 20,000 citizens as felons, thus blocking them from voting in the election. This was a very ominous scene, eerily casting Harris as the evil-doer of Republican politics.  The goal of this scene was to elevate Gore's quest for dimples into a triumphant and heroic battle between good versus evil.

But the scene was bogus.

The issue of the so-called "felony purge" never surfaced during Gore's disruption.  It had nothing to do with Gore's desire to count dimples.  Rather, it became widely known in 2001, well after the dispute ended.  Yet the film can't help from saying that 20,000 people were turned away from the polls, which is a lie.  In reality, probably a few people were turned away (a bureaucratic tragedy, yes, but nothing to do with Gore's effort).  The film further ignores that the "purge" took place in 1998, two years prior to the election, and that everyone on the list was notified they would not be able to vote.  This scene was just another attempt at hurting Katherine Harris and elevating Gore.

The end of the movie shows Kevin Spacey (playing Ron Klain) reacting to various courtroom arguments.  His reactions tell us what we are supposed to believe, that counting dimples is the only way to correct an unjust election.  He was on the "good" side.  Reason and justice was being trampled upon.

These Spacey scenes culminate in two cinematic embarrassments.  First, the film makes a desperate effort to say that Gore ran out of time simply because the Supreme Court of the United States "stepped in", interfering with the manual recounting in Florida.  We are supposed to forget that 7 of the 9 Justices found the recounting process to be unconstitutional!  In other words, if only the court would have allowed the unconstitutional recounting process to continue, Gore would have had enough time to get it done!

The film then makes another presentation regarding a single sentence in the Supreme Court ruling.  The sentence says the ruling should be applied only to the case at hand, that its findings are relevant to the uniqueness of this particular case.  The film makers, acting much like Democrats scaring citizens in Palm Beach County, imply that the ruling is a sham and that the Justices were covering their tracks as they secured a victory for Bush.  Weak.  Very weak.

Perhaps by liberal instinct, the film stereotypes Republicans as robotic religious "hicks".  People supporting Bush can be seen with blank cultish faces, like they just arrived from the movie set of Invasion of The Body Snatchers.  Notice they tapped the sufferable Bob Balaban - one of my favorite actors - to play Ben Ginzberg, who fought against the Gore team.  In contrast you will find more debonair actors playing the sensible, likeable, and caring Democrats (of course).

The film does little to show that the Florida fiasco was nothing more than the losing candidate disrupting and twisting election laws in an effort to find votes.

Using a five-dimple rating system, I give this film just one dimple. Awful.