I saw this movie the other morning on Showtimes Movie Channel. It is the perfect movie to see this political season, it not only brings on the big belly laughs but the story has a edge of the “real” and as a viewer I became pretty convinced this could easily happen to any politician.
Below the Beltway is an indie film, from 21st Street Films. 21st Street Films seems to do micro-budget films, $20,000 – $500,000. It might have a micro-budget but it isn’t low quality by any means. The films story moves quickly and the story is as hilarious as it is real.
This is the story of Paul Gibson (Tate Donovan), a disgraced former beltway lobbyist. He is disgraced because there was a viral YouTube video of him speaking to a gathering of reporters and black citizens, he uses the word “niggardly” in reference to social welfare. A hilarious and ironic scene takes place between describing what happened to Gibson, they laugh about it, and indicate they don’t give a shit whether is was deserved or not, in fact is it funnier that what Gibson said wasn’t offensive in that he used the term correctly, but it was funny cause no one seemed to understand that! But these staffers they just accept the circumstances, where truth doesn’t matter and go on, hoping like hell it doesn’t happen to them. At the beginning of the film Gibson has one client left, the National Rendering Association, (NRA) heh, showing just how far he’s fallen. They drop him too, he’d become toxic, not jail time toxic of course, where he might get a book deal, but toxic enough that no one really wanted to be associated with him.
Gibson is trying to make his way back into politics. He finds out a salacious and scandalous story about a U.S. senator’s affair with a high school intern. What is interesting about the film is that its foci is not just how this information is manipulated on its own, but it is also about lobbyists’, politicians’, and reporters’ manipulation of each other in their attempts exploit the impending scandal. And it makes you laugh hard throughout. It’s a wild romp with a twist at the end that is screamingly funny. It’s a fun film, I do recommend it.
*Full disclosure, I went to boarding school the Spencer Garrett, he plays the disgraced senator and produces the film. But I still y’all should see it if you get a chance, you’ll see Spence is funny as hell, and you will catch a glimpse of why he made boarding school a much more tolerable place.