Rachel Boynton's documentary OUR BRAND IS CRISIS examines
the behind the scenes efforts of a group of Washington, DC-based
consultants who were hired to assist one of the candidates in the
Bolivian presidential election in 2002.

 Ladies and gentlemen, we have officially hit a new low in
the ongoing globalization of the world. The men and women who
work at the consulting firm of Greenberg Carville Shrum (GCS) see
themselves as purveyors of democracy. They are hired to provide
advice and assistance to candidates in elections around the world
(one brags of the success of his efforts in a recent Irish election).
GCS is retained by Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (a.k.a. "Goni"),
a former president of Bolivia who wants a second shot at running
his country. During his first administration, he allowed much foreign
capital to flow into the country, but the expected benefits somehow
failed to materialize. In 2002, with staggering unemployment and
inflation, he sought office again.

 Boynton was allowed access to the inner workings of GCS
and its focus groups, campaign strategies, negative advertisements,
and advice. The main advisor is Jeremy Rosner, an obviously intelligent
if somewhat oleaginous figure. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry
in watching Rosner and his minions set out to do in Bolivia what
has became
de rigueur in American politics. This is progress? This is
democracy? Can these efforts really be exported to other countries,
even ones without a truly democratic tradition? (If one really stops
and thinks about it, the process in the United States is susceptible
to failings and is flawed at its best.)

OUR BRAND IS CRISIS is a cautionary tale about getting involved
in the governmental affairs of other countries -- even when invited.
As history has shown, such efforts rarely yield the desired results
and often backfire with grave consequences.

         Rating:                 B
         MPAA Rating:         None
         Running time:        87 mins.

                         Viewed on DVD
Our Brand Is Crisis
©  2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.