“GOP heavyweight James Baker III and Democratic strategist Ron Klain couldn’t have been more at odds than they were during the disputed Bush v. Gore 2000 election battle in Florida,” writes Politico’s Jeffrey Ressner. “So it’s no small irony that as HBO’s telefilm Recount (debuting 5.25) was being readied, the two men both signed off on a completely fictional scene in which their characters meet briefly on an airport tarmac.”
(l.) James Baker; (r.) Ron Klain
I’m glad Strong made it up. The scene isn’t confrontational or slam-bam, but it hits the right note. It happens at the finale, and after all the haggling and spinning over vote counts for the previous two hours, the viewer is looking for some kind of reflective sum-up. What you get is a few choice words between rivals — a formal but friendly hello, a foreshadowing of dark things to come from Klain (Kevin Spacey) and a suggestion by Baker (Tom Wilkinson) that there’s no right or wrong and that it all boils down to loyalty.
I enjoyed that director Jay Roach made sure that Wilkinson closely resembles Baker, which is mainly accomplished by his wearing a gray-hair wig. It’s a little odd, therefore, that despite the real Klain (above) obviously having a decent head of hair, Roach decided to let Spacey play it with his own sparse follicles, which have been retreating like the French Army out of Russia since the days of American Beauty. Why not wig out if it creates a slightly closer resemblance?
Here again is my 4.30 review of Recount.