Review of Recount

Review of Recount written by Danny Strong and directed by Jay Roach
Rating ****

This is an HBO film that tells the story of the 2000 presidential election and subsequent request for a Florida recount. This film has a first rate cast and does an excellent job of accurately portraying all that took place in the thirty-six days the election results remained in question.

I remember at the time thinking that Al Gore did not get a fair vote in Florida. This film reinforces that belief. One can only wonder how things would have played out these past eight years if Gore would have won the election. He did, after all, when the popular vote by over a half a million votes.

The filmmakers try to make the film as fair and balanced as possible. But by simply portraying the truth it becomes apparent that everything was leaning in Bush's favor. Still, that doesn't take away from the drama. Every time it looks like one side would prevail, another decision is handed down by some court giving the advantage to the other side.

In a fair election every vote should count. But in Florida every vote was not counted. Thousands of voters were not allowed to vote because their names closely resembled those of convicted felons. Many more votes were not counted as a result of the chad problem. There were counting inaccuracies where votes that were supposed to be added were instead subtracted. There were ballots that were poorly designed that made it easy for people to cast a vote for one person when they intended to vote for another.

The one criticism I have of the film is the lack of a soundtrack. There are a few scenes where they use a piano to set the mood, but the lack of a soundtrack gave the film a low budget feel.

I recall hearing at one point that someone had proposed doing a hand count of all the ballots even after Gore had conceded. But I never heard anything to indicate that that has taken place. It would be an interesting study. I believe the ballots are still locked away somewhere.

The DVD has some very good extras including an audio commentary.

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