Monitor: Warren Beatty's `Bulworth' divided America. Here is what the papers said

VIEWERS OF every political stripe - from froth-mouthed fiscal conservatives to pork-barrel pinkos - may all squirm equally at the uncomfortable humour and hard-edge wit of Bulworth, the splendid and splenetic political satire from director, producer, co-writer and star Warren Beatty. The film, while radical in its own way, drives so far beyond "leftist" - which some have dubbed it - that political labels are no longer discernible in the rearview mirror. It's daring, deliberately offensive and, for a comedy, it has far more ideas in it than actual laughs, but Beatty manages to pull it off by sheer force of will, clarity of vision and an effervescent performance that rivals his best work. Beneath its astringent and cynical exterior beats a pure and idealistic heart that is almost biblical in its corniness. Love one another. The love of money is the root of all evil. The gods help them that help themselves. These are some of the root revolutionary notions that Bulworth espouses. Beatty's character even comes across as a quasi-Christ figure, shepherding the societal lepers and outcasts to salvation.

- Washington Post

IN A potentially cheap, high-concept gimmick, Bulworth lets its button- down, white-politician-turned-homeboy, rap excitedly to the same electorate he once put to sleep.Beatty well knows how to avoid making a fool of himself, and how to treat sheepish naivete as a fine comic advantage. Though the tradition of 1970s dropout comedy has not entirely vanished, today's movie dropouts don't often find much worth dropping back into. Not so Bulworth: he plunges headlong into black urban culture and political advocacy as if no white Democratic senator could ever dream of such a thing.

- New York Times

BULWORTH (R, 107 MINUTES) - Contains prodigious profanity, a shooting, sexual allusions and a black-velvet painting of a nude.

- Washington Post

MORE THAN 40 years later, the White Negro Esthetic - of which Bulworth is merely the latest example - refuses to die. Beatty recycles [Norman] Mailer's stale ideas, hoping that the parodic tone and hip-hop packaging will fool us into thinking that it's fresh. As part of his research into everyday, inner-city life, he hung out with the decidedly unrepresentative Suge Knight (the former CEO of Death Row Records). As one filmmaker puts it, "It's like me listening to a few Beach Boy records, hanging out with Marilyn Manson and then thinking that I know something about the white race." For all the hype that Beatty's film is "brave" and "politically incorrect," it simply peddles paper-thin stereotypes.

- Newsweek

BULWORTH DOESN'T always hit the bull's-eye. But it has the audacity to be original. In America, the film's been greeted as almost art-house fare - a minority taste, not a mass flavour. That's sad, but not unexpected. A nation that's been dumbsized into accepting The Simpsons as the cutting- edge commentators on social and political issues, brainwashed into a denial of presidential lies and lewdness and bullied into accepting a non-judgmental attitude to every vice is hardly in a state to relish being told some punishing home truths.

- Evening Standard

THIS STORY was probably funny in Beatty's head. It may even have been hilarious on paper. But on screen, Bulworth gives us about 30 minutes of humour before it devolves into a ridiculous, sophomoric social commentary. Beatty is Jay Billington Bulworth, an old-line liberal Democrat who has become jaded to the political gills. Tired of the bull (get it?), he hires a hit man to kill him. With this fatal freedom, Bulworth decides to begin telling the unvarnished truth about politics. He goes to a church in south central LA and tells black constituents that he hasn't done anything for their neighbourhood because they don't contribute enough money. Then he goes to a posh reception in Beverly Hills and tells Hollywood types that their product stinks, but he came to the bash because he figured there would be some well-heeled Jewish contributors there. Then [he goes] to an after-hours club in Compton, where Bulworth drinks, smokes pot and dances the night away. This concludes the funny portion of our movie.

- St Louis Post Dispatch

Arts and Entertainment
Jude Law in Black Sea


In Black Seahe is as audiences have never seen him before

Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops


Arts and Entertainment
Full circle: Wu-Tang’s Method Man Getty

Music review

Arts and Entertainment
When he was king: Muhammad Ali training in 'I Am Ali'
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
Arts and Entertainment
Scare tactics: Michael Palin and Jodie Comer in ‘Remember Me’

TVReview: Remember Me, BBC1
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Image has been released by the BBC
Arts and Entertainment
Will there ever be a Friends reunion?
Harry Hill plays the Professor in the show and hopes it will help boost interest in science among young people
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
A Van Gogh sold at Sotheby’s earlier this month
Arts and Entertainment

MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word

Arts and Entertainment
It would 'mean a great deal' to Angelina Jolie if she won the best director Oscar for Unbroken

Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says

Arts and Entertainment
Winnie the Pooh has been branded 'inappropriate' in Poland
Arts and Entertainment
Lee Evans is quitting comedy to spend more time with his wife and daughter

Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift is dominating album and singles charts worldwide

Arts and Entertainment
Kieron Richardson plays gay character Ste Hay in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks

Arts and Entertainment
Midge Ure and Sir Bob Geldof outside the Notting Hill recording studios for Band Aid 30

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

    Christmas Appeal

    Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
    Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

    Is it always right to try to prolong life?

    Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

    What does it take for women to get to the top?

    Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
    Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

    Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

    Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
    French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

    French chefs campaign against bullying

    A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

    Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

    Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
    Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

    Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

    Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
    Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

    Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

    Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
    Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

    Paul Scholes column

    I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
    Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

    So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game