Get this from a library! Bulworth: [screenplay]. [Warren Beatty; Jeremy Pikser]. Bulworth is a American political satire comedy film co-written, co-produced, directed by, Screenplay by. Warren Beatty; Jeremy Pikser. Story by, Warren. Jay Bulworth, Democratic senator for California, promises lobbyist . Moore: Todd Murata; Script Supervisors: Kerry Lyn McKissick: Ellen Evans.

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Intending to provide for his family, Bulworth contracts his own assassination with mobster Vinnie. At a South Central Los Angeles church, Bulworth abandons his campaign speech to tell the black congregation that the Democratic Party disdains them.

Bulworth |

Outside, he is intrigued by a young woman, Nina. At a Hollywood party, he denounces the film industry. He accompanies Nina to a rap club, but fears his assassin is pursuing him.

At a fundraiser the next day, Bulworth ‘raps’ a tirade against big business to an appalled audience. Bulworth decides to cancel his assassination, but is thwarted by Vinnie’s death. Bulworth is unaware that Nina is his contracted killer.

During a television debate, Bulworth lambasts the networks and alienates Crockett. His aide Murphy sabotages proceedings but realises Bulworth’s outspoken approach is impressing people. Bulworth hides out with Nina’s family. Wearing bulworh clothes, Bulworth gives a controversial television interview. Afterwards, he and Nina are cornered by the ‘assassin’ – actually a paparazzo. Back at Nina’s, she confesses her secret, but lets him live. Bulworth wins the election, and the media descend on Bulworty home.

She and Bulworth kiss before the cameras; but he scrilt shot dead, the bullet coming from a vantage where Crockett was lurking moments earlier. Just how much of a Marxist is Warren Beatty?

Perhaps this question has never detained younger film fans, who might know Beatty only as a semi-legendary seducer and the perpetrator of Dick Tracy But consider the red thread political thread which runs through his acting credits alone: Beatty has always professed a certain idea of the Left, and he has the cuttings to prove it.

Beatty was a vigorous cheerleader for George McGovern inand throughout the 80s he counselled Gary Hart, albeit to little obvious avail. Between these engagements, he was a charismatic incarnation of John Reed in Redsextolling Bolshevism to the American proletariat. Now, here’s Bulwortha polemical assault on present US political torpor. As with RedsBeatty wears the Wellesian mantle of star-writer-producer-director.


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You can mark bulorth end of that with the election of Carter. There’s nothing that can destroy the Democratic Party like a Democrat. Bulworth, mortally ashamed of his part in this puppet-show, abandons the ‘bipartisan’ drivel of his stump speeches Clintonoid-Blairesque staples such as “I believe in a hand-up, not a hand-out” and becomes a holy fool.

Wcript, he can muster only a stream of ‘incautious’ remarks – impoverished blacks should lay off the malt liquor, Hollywood’s “Big Jews” should quit churning out garbage – seemingly tailored by Beatty to generate nervous laughter in the cinemas.

Bulworth () – IMDb

But gradually, the road of ‘politically incorrect’ excess leads Bulworth to radical wisdom, and he bites the hand of the corporate oligarchy which has sustained him. But Bulworth has bigger fish to indict than the conspiratory phantom that was the Parallax Organisation. Here, real menace is revealed, in the precise form of those profiteers from the US medical-insurance racket.

Lurking behind these scoundrels, Bulworth implies, is the present Democratic incumbent of the oval office. Clinton slouched to power in pledging to deliver universal healthcare, and so abolish the strict fee-for-service fiddle which does such violence to the United States’ poor.

But he capitulated, shamefully, before the bullish lobbying of the insurance industry. So where stands the Bulworth ticket on healthcare? In the film’s linchpin scene, Bulworth publicly rebukes his insurance paymasters, calling for a single-payer, socialised national health system. Facing down the tissue-thin consensus that governments are best run like private corporations, Bulworth makes a stirring case for statism: Bulworth ‘s wrangles with race are a bit trickier.

Admirably, Beatty has argued that class is a more formidable social partition than skin colour. Nevertheless, his movie is possessed by a very Los Angelean notion that the US suffers from a specific Black Problem, compounded of drugs, guns and inveterate gangsterism.

In the 70s, its hierarchs abandoned the legacy of the civil-rights movement. Twice in the 80s, Jesse Jackson offered the Party a populist “Rainbow Coalition”, with himself as its chieftain. But Jackson was deemed politely speaking “unelectable” – as opposed to Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis, of whom history, already, remembers nothing. Small wonder, then, that Bulworth informs a South Central congregation that his Party “pretty much forgot” about blacks.


Yet Beatty shows Bulworth to be redeemed by a dose of black urban culture, embodied in Halle Berry’s exquisite Nina.

He becomes a connoisseur of chicken wings, Philly blunts, and “the nappy dug-out”, and delivers his polemics in tortuous rap.

All of this might be risible, were it not for a flabbergasting scene where Bulworth, alone at last with Nina, muses over the spirit of Huey Newton, and the absence of “black leaders”. Just as we fear Warren is about to offer a personal reminiscence, Nina cuts in to inform him that her mother was a Panther; that the ‘leaders’ Bulworth frets about were mostly rubbed out by Nixon’s damnable Cointelpro operation; and that the malaise of Black America stems from the decline of post-war manufacturing, which provided such vigorous foot-soldiers for civil rights.

Dispute that last thesis if you wish, but only John Sayles has served up such brazen dialectical materialism in recent American cinema. If one wished to cavil: Beatty’s highly accomplished visual triumvirate cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, designer Dean Tavoularis, costumer Milena Canonero may have given the film too polished a veneer.

Throughout, there’s a fairly central-casting conception of ‘coloured folk’. And Bulworth’s heroics are accompanied by too many shots of ‘I-like-what-the-man-says’ expressions on beaming black faces.

Nevertheless, Beatty has once again taken handsome advantage of his Hollywood clout to make a film of dissenting intelligence. He leaves us with a turn from playwright Amiri Baraka, as a panhandler with a gift for muttering ominous oaths. This type of character is already shop-worn from liberal Hollywood pictures such as Grand Canyon. But Baraka’s words have resonance: You can’t be no ghost.

Skip to main content BFI – page title bulsorth for accessibility. From 6 June this page is no longer being actively maintained. Visit the new BFI website. Review Just how much of a Marxist is Warren Beatty? Jeffers, Melvin Bradford, L. Cruz, Inga Marchand, A. Hutchinson, Herbie Hancock, P. Gail Clark Burch Editors: Laura Graham Kerry D. Etherson Mr Sasser V.