Film FestivalsMovie ReviewsSXSW 2019: Run This Town Review

Keith NoakesMarch 18, 2019

This will be one of many reviews during this year’s SXSW Film Festival, to keep up with our latest coverage, click here.

Synopsis: The inner workings of a city seen through the eyes of the interns and assistants that run it. (IMDB)

Starring: Ben Platt, Mena Massoud, and Damian Lewis

Writer: Ricky Tollman

Director: Ricky Tollman

Rating: n/a

Running Time: 99mins

Trailer: n/a

Let’s not bury the lead here as Run This Town is the Rob Ford movie. For those who don’t know who he is, Ford was the former mayor of Toronto, Ontario or maybe you have heard him referred to by his other name which was the “Crack Mayor”. Now how do they make a film about him? The answer is they don’t as he is only a character at the center of the other stories, the up-and-coming newspaper reporter looking for his big break and his assistant looking to keep him in check. The film stays pretty close to what actually happened including the newspaper investigation and the many scandals that led to Ford’s (Lewis) eventual downfall.

Bram (Platt) was young, fresh-out-of-college reporter who was biding his time and wrote Buzzfeed-style lists for a newspaper. Due to the ever-changing newspaper industry, he would stumble onto news of the infamous Rob Ford crack video. From this, the film would offer us a look into the inner workings of newspapers, having to prioritize fluff over risky investigative journalism. Meanwhile, the same would be the case with the aids working in Ford’s office, led by his special assistant Kamal (Massoud) who eventually realized he was fighting a losing battle.

The main problem with the film is that is has so much to say while not saying anything at all. The film operated under the delusion that a lot of fast dialog makes it sound smart but it doesn’t. Also, the two stories were a little too much to watch, making it a little too convoluted and dull as a whole. The performances were fine for the most part, however, it was hard to care about any of the characters due to how fake they were. Platt as Bram was somewhat compelling to watch while Massoud as Kamal was unlikable and Lewis (and his Fat Bastard makeup and prosthetics) as Ford was laughable and cringeworthy at best.

Overall, Run This Town is an overwhelming, but not in a great way, drama filled to the brim with pretentious, uninteresting dialog. The performances were solid but it was hard to care. Damian Lewis’ cringeworthy performance as Rob Ford was the final nail in its proverbial coffin.

Score: 5/10

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