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Abbasi’s Entertaining Trump Biopic Features Award-Winning Strong & Stan Performances


Abbasi's Entertaining Trump Biopic Features Award-Winning Strong & Stan Performances


Summary

  • Jeremy Strong & Sebastian Stan deliver award-winning performances in
    The Apprentice
    .
  • Ali Abbasi creates an entertaining & educational biopic on Trump.
  • The script provides an impartial frame for Trump’s early career.



Since its announcement, the Donald Trump biopic has had a looming shadow of controversy around it. Given the former president’s life story, it’s easy to see why folks would be for or against it. The Apprentice premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to resounding applause. Written and directed by Ali Abbasi, the story follows Trump’s early career and his quest to expand his real estate under the guidance of lawyer Roy Cohn. While the film is exactly what you’d expect, it comes with stunning performances and an exciting script that enchants with its drama.

The Apprentice (2024)

The Apprentice delves into the cutthroat world of corporate espionage through the eyes of a young intern who finds herself entangled in a dangerous game of deceit and betrayal in a multinational corporation, where every ally could be an enemy.

Pros

  • Jeremy Strong & Sebastian Stan give award-winning performances.
  • Abbasi’s biopic on Trump is equally entertaining and informational.
  • Screenwriters Stahl & Sherman provide a mostly impartial frame its subject matter.
Cons

  • The film is exactly what you’d expect it to be and doesn’t offer anything new to the genre.



The Apprentice Is A Standard Biopic That Informs & Entertains

Maria Bakalova & Sebastian Stan in The Apprentice movie still

At the height of economic failure, 1980s New York needed a huge face lift to bring revenue back into the city. Where the government had seemingly failed to provide promising solutions, one man had a vision to transform the Big Apple for long-term benefit. Donald J. Trump (Sebastian Stan), a real estate mogul with vision, was that man with a plan. The only thing stopping him from executing his vision? His father. It isn’t until he meets Roy Cohn (Jeremy Strong), the cutthroat lawyer with just about every government official in his pocket, that things begin to go his way.

Balancing the serious moments with humorous undertones,
The Apprentice
is the kind of biopic that meets expectations with its storytelling and flashiness.


Roy’s 3 rules for success were simple: 1) Attack (X3), 2) admit nothing while denying everything, and 3) claim victory and never admit defeat. Trump quickly adapted these guidelines and even went on to claim them as his own. And while the script adequately showcases how Trump became the man we know today, there’s a subtle sense that this was all Cohn’s doing, absolving him of accountability. It didn’t take long for Abbasi and co-screenwriter Gabriel Sherman to readjust. Luckily, by the end, this feeling subsides based on the way Trump treats people around him in the absence of Cohn’s influence.


Abbasi’s Storytelling Balances Controversy & Humor

As written, the script is bound to stir up some controversy, no matter how you feel about its subject. But one thing’s for certain: This is a damn good movie. Balancing the serious moments with humorous undertones, The Apprentice is the kind of biopic that meets expectations with its storytelling and flashiness. Where the film calls for more drama and flair, Abbasi doubles down to ramp up the entertainment. He is also careful not to overdo it like most biopics would. Instead, Abbasi caters to viewers who just want to be entertained and informed.

While the film is often on the nose for delivering the corrupt backstories of its characters, it is the performances that drive home the entertainment. Stan as Trump is simply remarkable. He perfects the speaking tone and facial antics with precision yet holds back enough to prevent a caricature performance. However, the biggest standout for me was Strong as Cohn. How Strong managed to be devoid of human emotion through his eyes is brilliant work. It takes an enormous effort to create a believable character modeled after one of the US’s most notorious public figures. It’s early, but it’s a best supporting actor performance.


This is a damn good movie.

A fine feature centered around the rise of a controversial businessman, The Apprentice turns the biopic genre upside down to present a genuinely worthwhile film. With top-tier performances from Stan and Strong, this is the type of movie you should rush to see, no matter how you feel about its subject. Through appropriately flashy sequences and simple storytelling, Abbasi’s latest offers good insight into Trump’s rise to power. Whether that’ll change your opinion of him isn’t the point, but consider this film a treat thanks to its entertaining structure.

The Apprentice
had its premiere during the 2024 Cannes Film Festival.


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