'Bad Education' Review
'Bad Education' Review
An Enthralling True Life Crime-Drama
This review of 'Bad Education' does talk about plot points from the film. The movie is best experienced blind, having not read up on the true-life story the movie adapts and watching any trailers or reading any synopsises on the film. You are more than welcome to continue reading this review but if you haven't seen the movie yet, I recommend clicking off and watching it.
From the moment it starts to its final frames, Cory Finley's 'Bad Education' is an enthralling cautionary tale of corruption and greed.
The movie follows the unbelievable real-life story of Long Island school superintendent Frank Tassone and fellow administrator Pam Gluckin as they attempt to cover-up the biggest embezzlement in American public school history when a student reporter begins to uncover what is truly going on.
Actor Hugh Jackman delivers not only one of the best performances of his career, but possibly one of the best performances of the year as the notorious Tassone. Before everything is revealed, you come to like Tassone. He is a perfect cast as the popular superintendent who remembers every one of his student's names, even years after they have left his school, is finely dressed and constantly carrying a smile. Along with the screenplay, he brings layers of humanity and charisma to the morally complex character. Playing with the viewer's sympathises while ultimately swindling everyone.
Not to be overlooked is Allison Janney as Gluckin. Her performance is nothing short of magnificent as she plays the criminal assistant superintendent. Geraldine Viswanathan does a great job as the fictionalized student reporter Rachel who uncovers and the embezzlement. Ray Romano delivers yet another stellar performance as the school board president. Alex Wolff, who does have a short performance, continues to be good in everything he is in. There isn't a weak link in this cast.
The way the story plays out makes the movie seem as if it was made to be viewed with a crowd. Numerous times throughout the 108-minute runtime has this reviewer saying "Oh damn!" or let a laugh, either because of how great the acting and filmmaking was or that big, groundbreaking information was delivered to the audience.
The "based on a true events" story presented in the film is reminiscent of the one told in the Netflix docuseries 'Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness'. Not necessarily because their stories were similar but because of how it is hard to believe something like it would happen. With former Roslyn High School student Mike Makowsky, who was a student at the school during this scandal, writing the screenplay. It gave it a sense of realism that many biopics don't quite possess. Outside of a few fictionalized characters (who are simply a combination of real-life people) and some dramatized scenes, the movie stays pretty faithful to the events that unfolded in 2002 to 2004.
Based on the New York Magazine article 'The Bad Superintendent' by Robert Kolker, Cory Finley's sophomore feature, the thought-provocative 'Bad Education', is an excellent example of showcasing corruption in high power. Supported by brilliant performances from the cast, an insightful and well-written screenplay, amazing direction and an entertaining story at the centre of all of it, HBO Films' latest release is an absolute must-watch.