When Sen. Laine Hanson (Allen) is unexpectedly chosen by the President (Bridges) to fill the spot left by his late vice president, veteran Beltway insider Shelly Runyon (Oldman), who loathes Hanson for defecting from the Republican side of the aisle, heads up the confirmation committee. Hunting for dirt, Runyon uncovers a scandalous sexcapade from Senator Hanson's college years, throwing her nomination into jeopardy.
A gripping political drama that appeared in the aftermath of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, Lurie's "The Contender" sheds serious light on the presidency and our political process. A star-making vehicle for the prodigiously talented Allen and a strong platform for Bridges (who delivers a knockout Presidential speech), the film portrays the intense personal scrutiny imposed on those in line for national office — particularly if the candidate is a woman. "Contender" is a resonant morality play about honor and political ambition.