Kevin Spacey was the main character, Ron Klain. You either like Spacey or you don't. He seems to use dullness as his technique, and at this point, for me, it seems hammy. But his fleshy face was kind of subtly fascinating on the HDTV screen and I enjoyed him well enough.
We loved Laura Dern as Katherine Harris. It's so easy to mock the vain and exaggerated Harris, but Dern did a good job of getting inside the character. I could laugh and feel some reasonable sympathy for her.
The best actor was Tom Wilkinson, who, playing James Baker, mainly had to state legal positions and strategies. One thing I really love to get from an actor is the feeling that this person is thinking of the words he is saying — I want to lose the sense that there was a script — and Wilkinson really hit that spot for me with lines that must have looked dull on paper. After all, Baker was mainly about standing his ground, while the other side was scrappily fighting for every vote. But Wilkinson made this stolid intransigence damned exciting.
Of course, I got a kick out of seeing actors play the Supreme Court Justices. The Stevens and O'Connor were particularly good. The Ruth Bader Ginsburg didn't speak — maybe she wasn't even an actress — but she looked the part — amusingly.
That's my opinion. Take into account that: 1. I voted for Gore and rooted for Gore throughout the recount, 2. I accepted the Supreme Court's determination from the beginning (and continue to accept it after writing about it in depth and teaching it in detail numerous times), and 3. I didn't want Bush to become President, but I never hated him, and I voted for him in 2004.
IN THE COMMENTS: Somefeller writes:
I saw the film at a premiere last week at the Baker Institute at Rice. It was a lot of fun, and watching James Baker and Kevin Spacey elbowing each other every now and then when a good line in the film came on certainly added to the atmosphere. At one point, the sound went out on the film in a point when Spacey's character was having a big scene, to the horror of the Baker Institute staff, but it turned out great because Kevin Spacey jumped up and said his lines live, to the enjoyment of the audience, who basically got a free one minute live performance from Spacey. I spoke with Laura Dern at the reception after the film and asked her about her portrayal of Harris. She said the lines that Harris spoke in the film came from Harris's own book and from interviews with other GOP people involved in the Florida recount, so they weren't just created by the writers. She also said she tried to portray Harris (who she thought was basically someone in over her head and in many ways used cynically by other Republicans) sympathetically and not just as a cartoon character or villain, and she hoped that came through to the audience.