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Bob Roberts


Dir. Tim Robbins. 1992, 102 mins. 35mm. With Tim Robbins, Giancarlo Esposito, Alan Rickman, Brian Murray, Ray Wise, Gore Vidal. Within the context of the 2016 presidential election, Tim Robbins’ dark comedy seems less like outlandish satire than eerie prophecy. Robbins plays millionaire conservative Bob Roberts, who has launched an insurgent campaign against incumbent senator Brickley Paiste (Vidal). Roberts fires up crowds at his rallies by singing 60s-style acoustic folk songs with lyrics espousing far-right social and economic views. Investigative journalist Bugs Raplin (Esposito) shadows the Roberts campaign, trying to connect the candidate to a drug-trafficking scheme, but an assassination attempt lays suspicion on both men. Bob Roberts is shot like a fly-on-the-wall documentary (cinematographer Jean Lepine also shot mock-doc Tanner ‘88), coated with jet-black humor, and infused with existential dread.

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