Picks and Pans Review: Recount

updated 05/26/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/26/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

HBO, May 25, 9 p.m. ET |

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Superdelegates, schmooperdelegates. This briskly enjoyable movie takes us back to the election in which political destiny hung on tiny bits of paper dangling from ballot cards—the historic 2000 Bush-Gore struggle that started in Florida and went all the way to the Supreme Court. Kevin Spacey plays Ron Klain, the former Gore chief of staff who tried to wrest victory for the Vice President from a confusing mass of misread, misvoted ballots. Spacey is his usual skillful, coolly skeptical self, meshing unfussily into a large cast that includes performances that are graceful (John Hurt as a reserved Secretary of State Warren Christopher), larger-than-life (Tom Wilkinson as a very tough James Baker) and satirically loopy: Laura Dern plays Katherine Harris, the Florida Secretary of State in charge of certifying who won the vote, as a wonderfully vain, dumb, overdressed creature. The movie isn't subtle—the Republicans move with the deliberate, prowling heaviness of sharks, while the Democrats are youthful and scrappy—but it takes on a big subject and gives it a light spin.

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