Spinning Boris (2003) starring Jeff Goldblum, Anthony LaPaglia, Liev Schreiber, Boris Lee Krutonog, Svetlana Efremova directed by Roger Spottiswoode Movie Review

Spinning Boris (2003)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Jeff Goldblum in Spinning Boris (2003)

Building Boris

When the election campaign they are working on collapses consultants George (Jeff Goldblum), Dick (Anthony LaPaglia) and Joe (Liev Schreiber) receive a curious phone call offering them the campaign of a lifetime. Someone in Russia is willing to pay them $250,000 to head to Moscow to head up Boris Yeltsin's floundering re-election campaign. But with language barriers, various shady characters and no one seeming interested in what they have to say they begin to question why they are there. That is until they manage to convince Yeltsin's daughter Tatiana Dyachenko (Svetlana Efremova) of their plans and start to swing things in Yeltsin's favour.

So "Spinning Boris" is based on the little known true story of 3 American election consultants who headed to Moscow in 1996 to assist in Yeltsin's re-election campaign. Ironically like the true story "Spinning Boris" also seems to be little known as there is a distinct lack of reviews on it especially considering its cast includes Jeff Goldblum, Anthony LaPaglia and Liev Schreiber. Anyway whether it is known or not it is kind of interesting with what it suggests happened with these 3 Americans bringing some American style electioneering to Russia.

Anthony LaPaglia and Liev Schreiber in Spinning Boris (2003)

Now how much truth is there to "Spinning Boris", to be honest I have no idea, heck I had never even heard of the true story prior to watching. But there does seem to be some speculation as to what influence these 3 Americans had on the re-election campaign and that is not surprising because lets be honest the world of politics is full of secrets and there is always going to be that question over authenticity.

But then I watched "Spinning Boris" not because of what it is based upon but because what I knew it was meant to be a political satire which had me thinking is this going to be along the lines of "Wag the Dog" and "Primary Colors". Unfortunately it doesn't have the same sharpness of those movies but delivers more mild amusement from these Americans wondering what is really going on as to why they are there to watching Yeltsin's campaign become more Americanized. It is still mildly entertaining especially with Goldblum involved as a quick talking consultant but it lacks the punch to make you really laugh. It gets close a few times, a comment about the public's perception of Yeltsin drinking too much makes you laugh but these moments end up in short supply.

What is certainly the case is that Jeff Goldblum, Anthony LaPaglia and Liev Schreiber have all been cast to play very specific characters. Goldblum is the sharp talking George with a flirtatious side, Schreiber the more analytical Joe whilst LaPaglia is cast as the worrier. But the upshot of this is that Goldblum owns the movie because of his characters more out going, even at times exuberant nature with Goldblum delivering what I would call a typically entertaining Goldblum performance.

What this all boils down to is that "Spinning Boris" is not the sharp political satire I was expecting but more a mildly case of the truth is stranger than fiction.