Bad Education Movie Review: Hugh Jackman's Film is a Searing Statement on Corruption in Education
Bad Education Movie Review: Hugh Jackman excels in the movie that lifts the lid on corruption
- Movie Name Bad Education
- Director Cory Finley
- Actor Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney, Geraldine Viswanathan, Alex Wolff, Rafael Casal, Stephen Spinella, Annaleigh Ashford,Ray Romano
Rating: *** ½ (three and a half stars)
Scams in educational institutions should not shock us. In fact nothing should shock us any more. But this true-life story of monetary embezzlement in a posh American highschool in Long Island where the highest administrator pulled of a 11.2 million dollar fraud, is stuff that so far existed only in fiction.
Bad Education turns the image of the idealistic educationist on its head to show us how big money is the big arbitrator of moral values in a society driven by greed and overt ambition. That this kind of high-level scamming can happen in an educational institution is in keeping with the value system of our times. The movie does extremely well for itself in exposing the far from idealistic dynamics of academia. This is as good a moment as any to reveal that Hugh Jackman, as far from the monstrous makebelieve of Wolverine as humanly possible, hits all the right notes as Francis Tassone, the suspiciously over-righteous superintendeant of the high-end school. He is as cool as the foliage that covers his base and as smooth as the smoothies he drinks at work every morning. It takes a while for the stardust to settle in and the ugly reality to kick in.
Writer Mike Makowsy gradually eases us into the dark side of Tassone, the secret travel to meet his lover in Vegas. …Yup, Tassone is gay. And just when I was wondering what the hero-worshipping parents of his school would think of that, other murky secrets tumble out of the closet so quickly it becomes hard for us to digest the filthspill. Jackman takes us through a life of shocking contradictions without missing a beat. He is the voice of stolen sensibleness, a figure of furtive aberrations. Giving the compromised character some compelling company is the wonderful Allison Janney as Pam Gluckin, Tassone’s right-hand woman and accomplice in crime. She drops out of the scam investigation soon enough. Then there is nowhere to hide.
The entire ritual of scamming is projected through a prism of surprise and acceptance, as we first repudiate than understand the mind of a man who has gone the other way to feed his hunger for a luxurious lifestyle. The scam is unearthed by a 15-year old student of the same schoolwhere the scam happens.
It is a matter of great pride for us that the campus journalist Rachel Bhargava, is played by an actress of Indian origin Geraldine Vishwanathan who is actually 24 but pulls of the 15-year old’s role with impressive ease. Rachel is the third-most important character in a film where the villain and his accomplice take centrestage.
At the end of the adeptly arranged true life crime thriller we are left with one nagging question: why?
If only we knew the answer to that there wouldn’t be so many educational institutions that seem to flourish from backdoor donations.