It’s time to look at a fairly old political film. It’s a good time to do so as it went back to theaters to “celebrate” the arrival of our new President. It’s a pretty fun film that overstays its welcome a little bit by the end. It went in a different direction than I would have expected, but nonetheless it’s not all that bad. I dare say that it is a little mean spirited though so get ready for everyone to get their just desserts.
Larry was doing time in a prison cell when a reporter showed up. Her name is Marcia and she had a neat radio show where she gets people to sing. Larry agrees to do it in exchange for his freedom and the cops are cool with that. He sings some tunes and Marcia realizes that he is destined for greatness. Larry already knew that, but it was nice to see it confirmed. He rose up from small time radio host to a celebrity so influential that even the President answered to him. Life was going well, but unfortunately, the power corrupted him. Larry began to go after everything money could buy and no longer identified with the average joes of the world. He began to destroy everything so Marcia and the others realized that it was time to put him down for good.
So, the film started out pretty reasonably. It was nice to see Larry slowly grow more and more popular while keeping his ideals in tact. He wouldn’t accept sponsors and liked to do things his way. Little did we know that it wasn’t because he was super noble or anything like that. No, it was just because he likes being his own boss and didn’t want to have to follow someone else’s rules. To an extent, Larry is likable. He’s a very charismatic guy and his yell/laugh hybrid is pretty iconic. He’s definitely a take charge kind of guy and he never would have been such a success if not for his personality. He did earn his spot at the top in this film, which is why it’s a shame that he fell so far. He began to go after every girl like James Bond while still acting as if Marcia was actually important to him. He also became as two faced as the politicians that he had always strove to be against.
He said one thing on TV and then another once the cameras were off. It was definitely a pretty drastic change and you can’t blame anyone but himself for how his career ended. I mean, you have to not be very smart to go on such a rant the instant that the cameras were off. That’s really just asking for trouble. While Larry started out as good character, he wasn’t likable by the end and I suppose that was the point. I can’t say that I cared for Marcia either. She started out as a tough reporter, but by the end she was being used as much as all of the other characters. At least she did make sure to walk away with the money before sabotaging Larry though. That was a smart move, but it didn’t make her any more likable either.
There was a reporter who spent a large part of the film trying to get Marcia to realize that Larry was a bad apple, but it was futile for the most part. He was meant to be a pretty likable character who kept it real and just stuck to the facts, but it felt like he was just talking nonsense half the time. He was trying to be very deep and eloquent with what he was saying, but it just backfired and he didn’t get a good line until the very end of the film. It was a little too late by then.
I thought that the ending was handled well. For a second there, I actually thought they were going to make it really dark and have Larry off himself in the end. While it is left to your interpretation, I like to think that he did not. He was crushed pretty badly, but he definitely seemed like the kind of guy who would keep on trying and that makes the ending a little less intense. If it had flat out had him die in the end, that would have hurt the film quite a bit.
I suppose the film was trying to make a point about how people flock to magnetic personalities even if the individual isn’t all that good. They can be mind controlled via group think, but at the same time, this moral came at the expense of Larry’s character. It’s not as if he was a saint in the beginning. The guy did start off in jail after all. However, he was a likable enough guy and he always made sure to just do whatever he wanted. He just let the job control him in the end and I would have liked the film to have taken a different path, but it’s not as if the film did a bad job with it.
I’d just say that the film wasn’t all that fun during the second half. It became more about Larry betraying Marcia over and over again until she finally betrayed him. The film got to be very somber with every character constantly heading to the bar to collect themselves. It was very dramatic and in stark contrast to the very lighthearted, comedic beginning. You could barely even believe that this was the same film. It was a pretty long movie so it was able to have these two “acts” while ensuring that both got a lot of screen time. I certainly preferred the first half.
Overall, A Face in the Crowd is a decent political movie. I prefer to see more of the actual politics since Larry is more of a middle man, but it was a nice little look at the whole thing. Politicians do get advice from a bunch of people so they can hopefully get elected and make connections along the way. We rarely see this aspect of the whole thing. I would have liked for Larry to have stayed as more of a protagonist and it would have made for a much more enjoyable film, but it just wasn’t in the cards. If you want to see a film that also serves as a warning about not forgetting your roots and losing your identity, then this could be a good film to check out. If you’re already confident that this is not a problem, go watch DBZ: Broly The Legendary Super Saiyan since you can turn your mind off and just enjoy the fights.