It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Kevin Costner's new movie is about a presidential election that literally comes down to one man, one vote. The vote belongs to Bud Johnson, an alcoholic egg inspector from New Mexico, who finds himself the focus of the eyes of the world. Costner plays him as a hung-over loser who cares about only one pair of eyes, those of his 12-year-old daughter Molly. When he realizes he has become an embarrassment to her, he begins to change.
The idea of an entire election coming down to one man's vote is admittedly just a tad difficult to accept. But the movie makes a plucky stab at explaining how it comes to happen -- and it almost sounds plausible. Everything depends on Molly. From the opening scene (Bud's too hungover to get Molly to school), we see she's trying her best to be loyal to him, although he's a daily problem. This day, as it turns out, is Election Day, and she is determined at all costs that her dad will turn up at the polling place and vote.
It doesn't turn out that way. Bud gets laid off at the egg works, gets drunk, passes out. Molly waits impatiently at the polling place, where he promised to turn up on time. He doesn't, but an ingenious plot strategy makes it appear that he did, and that his vote was not counted, and when the whole election comes down to that one vote in New Mexico, well, then you've got your movie.
The media descend on the town like a locust swarm. TV cameras and reporters are camped permanently outside the Johnson house trailer. Molly, who knows what really happened, keeps it to herself. And we meet people like Kate Madison (Paulette Patton), the ace TV reporter who makes friends with Molly, and Sweeney (George Lopez), who will do anything for a scoop.