|Written by||Danny Strong|
|Directed by||Jay Roach|
Ed Begley, Jr.
Marcia Jean Kurtz
|Theme music composer||Dave Grusin|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||116 minutes|
|Production||Spring Creek Productions|
|Original release||May 25, 2008|
Recount is a 2008 political drama television film about Florida's vote recount during the 2000 United States presidential election. Written by Danny Strong and directed by Jay Roach, the television film stars Kevin Spacey, Bob Balaban, Ed Begley Jr., Laura Dern, John Hurt, Denis Leary, Bruce McGill, and Tom Wilkinson. It premiered on HBO on May 25, 2008. The television film won three Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special for Roach, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Series, Miniseries or Television Film for Dern.
Recount chronicles the 2000 U.S. presidential election Bush v. Gore case between Governor of Texas George W. Bush and U.S. Vice President Al Gore. It begins with the election on November 7 and ends with the Supreme Court ruling, which stopped the Florida election recount on December 12.
Key points depicted include: Gore's retraction of his personal telephone concession to Bush in the early hours of November 8; the decision by the Gore campaign to sue for hand recounts in Democratic strongholds where voting irregularities were alleged, especially in light of the statistical dead heat revealed by the reported machine recount; Republican pressure on Florida's Secretary of State Katherine Harris in light of her legally mandated responsibilities; the attention focused on the hand recounts by media, parties, and the public; the two major announcements by Florida Supreme Court spokesman Craig Waters extending the deadline for returns in the initial recount (November 21, 2000) and ordering a statewide recount of votes (December 8, 2000), and later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court; and finally the adversarial postures of the Supreme Courts of Florida and the United States, as well as the dissenting opinions among the higher court's justices.
In April 2007, it was announced that Sydney Pollack was going to be the film's director. By August, weeks away from the start of principal photography, Pollack withdrew from the project due to a then-undisclosed illness. Pollack died of cancer on May 26, 2008, one day after Recount premiered on HBO. Director Jay Roach replaced Pollack.
|Kevin Spacey||Ron Klain||Nominated for Emmy Award, Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award|
|John Hurt||Warren Christopher|
|Laura Dern||Katherine Harris||Won Golden Globe Award; nominated for Emmy Award and SAG Award|
|Tom Wilkinson||James Baker||Nominated for Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award|
|Denis Leary||Michael Whouley||Nominated for Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award|
|Ed Begley, Jr.||David Boies|
|Bob Balaban||Ben Ginsberg||Nominated for Emmy Award|
|Bruce McGill||Mac Stipanovich|
|Paul Jeans||Ted Olson|
|Bruce Altman||Mitchell Berger|
|Alex Staggs||Craig Waters|
|Doug Williford||Mark Fabiani|
|Gary Basaraba||Clay Roberts|
|Stefen Laurantz||Joe Allbaugh|
|Mitch Pileggi||Bill Daley|
|Jayne Atkinson||Theresa LePore|
|Marcia Jean Kurtz||Carol Roberts|
|Mary Bonner Baker||Kerey Carpenter|
|Bob Kranz||Bob Butterworth|
|Raymond Forchion||Jeff Robinson|
|Steve DuMouchel||John Hardin Young|
|Marc Macaulay||Robert Zoellick|
|Antoni Corone||Tom Feeney|
|Matt Miller||Jeb Bush|
|Terry Loughlin||William Rehnquist|
|Judy Clayton||Sandra Day O'Connor|
|William Schallert||John Paul Stevens|
|Bruce Gray||Anthony Kennedy|
|Michael Bryan French||David Souter|
|Howard Elfman||Stephen Breyer|
|Jack Shearer||Antonin Scalia|
|Benjamin Clayton||Clarence Thomas|
|Bradford DeVine||Charles T. Wells|
|Candice Critchfield||Judge Myriam Lehr|
|Annie Cerillo||Barbara Pariente|
|Brewier Welch||Harry Lee Anstead|
|Derek Cecil||Jeremy Bash|
|Robert Small||George J. Terwilliger III|
|Patricia Getty||Margaret D. Tutwiler|
|Christopher Schmidt||John E. Sweeney|
|Olgia Campbell||Donna Brazile|
|James Carrey||Chris Lehane|
|Brent Mendenhall||George W. Bush|
|Grady Couch||Al Gore|
|Carole Wood||Tipper Gore|
|Tom Hillmann||Brad Blakeman|
|Adam LeFevre||Mark Herron|
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2008 Emmy Awards:
2009 66th Golden Globe Awards:
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 78%, based on 18 reviews, and an average rating of 6.4/10. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 66 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Mark Moorman of Het Parool, gave the film a rating of four stars on a scale of five, calling Recount an "amazing and funny reconstruction".
Some critics have made charges of bias against the film. Entertainment Weekly wrote, "Recount may not be downright blue, but it's not as purply as it wants to appear. Despite its equal time approach, Recount is an underdog story, and thus a Democrat story." Film critic Roger Ebert disputed claims of bias in his review of the film, stating, "You might assume the movie is pro-Gore and anti-Bush, but you would not be quite right."
In an interview with CNN's Reliable Sources, director Jay Roach responded that the film, "wasn't 100 percent accurate, but it was very true to what went on. ... That's what dramatizations do: stitch together the big ideas with, sometimes, constructs that have to stand for a larger truth." Roach cited All the President's Men as an example.Jake Tapper, an ABC newscaster who was a consultant for the film also stated in response that the film is "a fictional version of what happened" and "tilts to the left because it's generally told from the point of view of the Democrats."The Washington Post further stated that Tapper noted that "while some scenes and language are manufactured, 'a lot of dialogue is not invented, a lot of dialogue is taken from my book, other books and real life.' "
Florida Supreme Court spokesman Craig Waters agreed that the script departed from the actual statements he made on live television from the courthouse steps in the fall of 2000. "But the words spoken by the actor who played me [Alex Staggs]," Waters said, "are accurate paraphrasis of the things I actually said or of the documents released by the court at the time."
... has not seen the film, but he read transcripts of scenes featuring his character, who is portrayed as a high-minded but naive statesman. In one scene, Christopher, played by John Hurt, suggests to former Secretary of State James Baker, who was spearheading Bush's Florida legal team, that they try to resolve the recount through 'diplomacy and compromise.' 'That's absurd,' Christopher says. 'Both Baker and I knew this would be a fight to the end that only one side could win.'
Democratic strategist Michael Whouley has objected to the amount of swearing he does in the film, and was also uncomfortable with a scene involving a broken chair.
In contrast, Bush legal advisers James Baker and Benjamin Ginsberg have largely given the film good reviews; Baker even hosted his own screening of it, though he does refer to the film as a "Hollywood rendition" of what happened.