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“RUN THIS TOWN” Captivating




Review by John Delia

Nicely fashioned and certainly a topic for today’s climate of finding credible news, the film Run This Town opens this weekend. The film has some very good acting, the production values are high and the script captivating. If you like movies that involve young people trying to climb the ladder where they work, then this one should be on top of the list.

The film follows several recent college grads that are seeking jobs. Bram (Ben Platt) applies at The Record a thriving newspaper, Kamal (Mena Massoud) gets a cherry job working for Bob Ford (Damian Lewis) the mayor, and Ashley (Nina Dobrev ) gets a job at City Hall. She even works with Kamal helping with the mayor’s appointments and duties. The three as well as other fellow student’s lives become entwined with Bram delving into Mayor Ford’s possible scandal. It’s a classic climbing the ladder to success with some rungs missing.

Ben Platt as Bram in RUN THIS TOWN from Oscilloscope/Quiver Distribution

What makes the film good is that it gets into the nitty gritty of city government, newspapers and a whole lot more. And it’s also a realistic look at a year in the lives of some matriculated millennials. Director and writer Ricky Tollman opens with a discussion in a classroom while they are watching a video about an issue at a fictitious city hall meeting regarding a budget item. As the class banters back and forth about whether the budget item’s an issue and if it becomes one, what the consequences may be we get the feel of their personalities. It’s an exercise in futility and lays out the stage play for the rest of the film. It’s a cool way to introduce the characters and involve the audience in the very compelling film. I like the performances Tollman gets from his young cast and tip my hat to him being his first outing as a director.

The acting by the whole cast is very good and boosts the film’s potential for audience acceptance to all the infighting, differences of opinions and of course each of the characters futures in their chosen professions. I especially like Ben Platt’s performance as Bram the reporter who ferrets out a problem in the Mayor’s office through a whistle blower for an act of impropriety. It kind of shows first hand that it’s not always the best lead for a story if others are on the same track to publish the facts in their publication or online news service. It’s Bram’s ladder and he keeps falling back to a lower rung. Platt shows that starting out in your first job can be a tough row to hoe, especially in the news department at The Record.

Nina Dobrev as Ashley in the drama / thriller RUN THIS TOWN, an Oscilloscope / Quiver Distribution release. Photo courtesy of Oscilloscope / Quiver Distribution.

Run This Town has been rated R by the MPAA for language and sexual references. There are also some ethnic slurs and a quick clip of drug use. One of the better dramas this year it reminds me of a film from way back when called St. Elmo’s fire. If you enjoy Run This Town, check out St. Elmo’s Fire as it much be somewhere on DVD.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Well made with a compelling story. (4 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Ben Platt, Mena Massoud, Nina Dobrev, Scott Speedman, with Jennifer Ehle, Damian Lewis
Directed and written by: Ricky Tollman
Genre: Drama
MPAA Rating: R for language and sexual references
Running Time: 1 hr. 39 min.
Opening Date: March 6, 2020
Distributed by:  Oscilloscope/Quiver Distribution
Released in: Theaters, VOD, Digital HD

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