With the limited number of new releases lately, I was glad to see that HBO was releasing BAD EDUCATION (2019). I didn’t get the chance to catch it at the festivals last year, but it has now had its at home premiere. I went into this film fairly blind, considering I had no prior knowledge of these events. After ready the premise of the movie and hearing that it was a true story, this movie became a must-watch for me. For the most part, I was riveted by this film and I feel that a lot of people will be as well, especially if great performances help your enjoyment.
In the Roslyn school district in Long Island, New York, money has been used for many things, other than for the school district itself. This lead to the discovery of the largest embezzlement scandal in history. As this film unfolds, you learn that there is more than meets the eye to pretty much everyone involved. Hugh Jackman portrays Frank Tassone, the superintendent, and Allison Janney portrays the mysterious Pam Gluckin, who’s well-intentioned actions pretty much ruin her life. These two performances light up the screen, so throughout any minor dull moments, the two of them kept me engaged.
This film wouldn’t exactly unravel the way it did without the supporting cast either though. In particular, Geraldine Viswanathan as Rachel Kellog, a nifty student who can see through anything, delivers the best performance I’ve seen from her yet. Her wits scare most of the employees of this school district and that was one of the more interesting aspects of the story for me. This film is really all about how a scandal can ruin many lives, but there’s a lot more here to enjoy than that, especially if you’re a fan of film in general.
Proving that he was both a talented writer and director with his work on the film THOROUGHBREDS (2018), I’ve been eagerly awaiting Cory Finely’s next project. The very obvious fact that he works closely with his performers is not lost in this movie, as he brings out the best in everyone involved. BAD EDUCATION only furthered my appreciation for this filmmaker. While he has yet to blow me away, I’ve really enjoyed both of his outings for many reasons. This is a talented filmmaker that I believe more people should be keeping an eye on.
In the end, BAD EDUCATION benefits from a meaty story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. That wouldn’t have been possible without some fantastic dialogue written by Mike Makowsky, so he deserves some recognition here as well. This cast hardly ever misses the mark on any of their projects, so I wasn’t all that surprised to see them being great here as well. The only way I can see people not liking this film is if they find the material itself boring, but I thought, much like the film THE SOCIAL NETWORK (2010), that the screenplay is what made this movie so good, to begin with. Now available on HBO, I recommend checking this one out.