Michael Ritchie’s film The Candidate (1972), stars Robert Redford as lawyer unwillingly running for the Democratic seat in the Senate for California. He is not nearly as suave or stable in front of large crowds nor is he as cool and calm under pressure as his opposing candidate. He is giving a speech in a local mall when the microphone begins to whine. The low subtle whine gradually turns into a high pitched squeal. The tension created by this sound is almost palpable. I thought it was interesting that the role sound plays in this film is so strong and adds a lot to the moments.
Ritchie took shots of Redford’s character, McKay giving campaign speeches and doing interviews, giving the film the same vibe and characteristics as a political documentary. This combined with the dramatic portrayal of how electoral campaigns pander to the media was a shockingly realistic portrayal on the realities of electoral campaigns.
Not much has changed today since the ’70s. Candidates keep their speeches vague and broad to appeal to a larger span of voters and tailor their campaign to what the media wants.
I found this film interesting because it is not a documentary yet the style is similar to that of a political documentary and it has very realistic qualities and reflects realistic events in politics from the past and present.