I went tonight to this thriller remake of a movie about a global conspiracy to take over the White House, and I must say that I was delightfully surprised by much of the movie, which exceeded my expectations...not a hard feat considering the reputation of Hollywood and the fact that it's a political movie in an election year. I give it a 4/5 stars, and here's why. First off, let's hit the bare bones. The movie was well done. The tension was deliciously Hitchcockian, substituting in pure suspense where other movies might have gone for action or horror. While the plot has many somewhat predictable turns, the way the movie builds the tension is so well done, you'll find your heart racing on adrenaline, whether or not you've successfully predicted the plot. Denzel Washington and Liev Shreiber were on their usual 'A' game, with acting that made the characters seem very real, and while I have no basis for comparison, Meryl Streep also delivered a wonderful performance. The cinematography was also quite good, capturing the feel of the moment. The music was of top quality, too. Although I'd not recommend anybody listen to it on the road, the dull, creepy music helped build the feeling of desperation around the man who was uncovering this conspiracy. The movie itself was a great practice in good, old fashioned suspense, building audience fear without excessive violence. I applaud the director and producers for that. Now, with all that said and done, let's get down to the details. While the movie itself is good, a little more effort into the details could have turned it from a good-great movie to something that bordered on "Best Picture" material. While the plot is great, it involves a little more suspension of disbelief than many. Sure, the idea of this conspiracy is feasible, but the technology used to acomplish it is a little on the wild side. There's talk of brain implants and other wierd technology, when reducing it to perfectly believable hypnotism could have made it more believable. Another thing that bugs me is attention to detail. When showing fake broadcasts, I can understand if they couldn't get the major tv stations (NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC, etc.) to allow the use of their logos, but they could at least have made the things look predictable. When showing the news stories, it's just like in real life where, on the screen, you see the main story being told either by anchors, interviews, or video clips with the headline printed below. Below that is the standard news ticker and to the right is the station logo. Now, would it have really cost them that much to put the logo to the left, like every other station? Probably not, but that's one of the last things I noticed. The first thing I noticed is that, unlike on real news channels, the news ticker was repeating everything said above in brief, almost like a closed caption on a budget. There was also no clock or stock update, not even so much as a DOW, Nasdaq, and S&P update (at least I don't remember one, tell me if I'm wrong). It's details like these that subtract from the illusion the movie sets up, and they're not that hard to correct. The third topic I'll discuss is political spin. I must admit that I went into this movie looking for spin. You'd be dumb not to, it being a political movie in an election year. However, there really isn't too much spin. They never mention any political party by name, although it's obvious to anyone politically active that these guys (the stars) are Democrats, especially after they talk about securing the "black, immigrant, and women" votes, and you can see parallels between the characters and real life figures. Shrieber looks a lot like a cross between Kerry and Edwards, came from out of nowhere to get the VP nomination, and is partially (though not half as much as Kerry) riding a war record (this time from Kuwait). His mom (Streep) is a bit like Hillary, very vocal and abrasive. The opponent he ousts is much like a calm Dean, just a little too lib for the party. All told, however, the only spin I saw was in the fake news reports, which were a bit more liberal than the real ones, that and the fact that Al Franken played a reporter (I just can't get over that). The only other things I could see being construed as spin are the fact that the bad guys are a greedy corporation and a few paid off, right leaning Dems, while the good guys in the political arena are mainly the ultralibs. Bottom line: it's a good movie, but grit your teeth at Al Franken and prepare to suspend disbelief. Well worth the money, IMHO.