One of the sharpest films ever made about the political process--its screenwriter Jeremy Larner had been a George McGovern speech writer--this keen-eyed 1972 satire of idealism vs. the cold pragmatism of getting elected will, alas, seem just as fresh four years from now. Robert Redford's discomfort as an actor gets put to good use in the role of a young upstart who agrees to a suicide run in a California Senate race on grounds that he can shake up the establishment. That the establishment is more seductive and entrenched than he imagines is no surprise: what remains startling are the movie's semi-doc authenticity and director Michael Ritchie's ability to zero in on the comic or poignant detail that's the beating heart of a chaotic scene. Featuring a bristling comic turn by Peter Boyle as a wily campaign operative, the movie will be projected from DVD as part of the Downtown Public Library's monthly screening series, free and open to the public.
Thu., Sept. 11, 6:30 p.m., 2008