The Third Party Image

The Third Party

By Ethan Padgett | July 3, 2024

Adrian Roman’s The Third Party is a perfect film, as our country is caught in the intensity of the 2024 presidential election. Elections provide an interesting survey in seeing how the media portrays both our politicians and values from different perspectives. If you are expecting the zany comedy of The Campaign, the writer-director’s film takes a more innovative approach.

Senator Ted Stewart (Treg Monty) is caught up in an ethics investigation instigated by the corrupt Governor Scott Tabin (Scott James) and his manipulative advisor, Bree Sharper (Kathy Butler Sandvoss). Tabin wants to expose Stewart for alleged crimes that include relationships with underage women and ties to Iran. At the same time, Stewart must make bold decisions going forward in his campaign. He rocks the boat by going against the Democratic Party’s values and leaning into a pro-America campaign during an interview. Due to Tabin playing the game, he is endorsed by the President. When Tabin is interviewed, he accuses Stewart of being a racist and pretends to be a “family man” for the cameras. After some heavy thinking, Senator Stewart starts his own political party. Who will the people choose: sleazy Tabin or the patriotic Stewart?

“…Senator Stewart starts his own political party.”

Adrian Roman deserves a ton of credit for creating a unique film that deals with our current political scene. The Third Party avoids the doom and gloom of political satire that is present in today’s entertainment. It all works due to Monty’s genuine performance as Ted Stewart. Monty brings warmth and everyman likability to the role. It is refreshing to see a politician (albeit fictional) portrayed with such depth. Sandvoss’s Bree Sharper is an engaging antagonist, and she steals every scene she’s in.

This is a film that needs to be seen by a big audience as it provides a solution that might help our country going forward. Its enduring optimism is reminiscent of Frank Capra’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Much like that enduring classic, the filmmaker thinks intuitively about our country’s values and how our elections have been corrupted into a weaselly chess game. It is intelligent, and Roman takes the high road in not creating grotesque caricatures of real politicians. If you need to take a break from the election news, check out The Third Party and see a new take on American politics.

The Third Party (2024)

Directed and Written: Adrian Roman

Starring: Treg Monty, Kathy Butler Sandvoss, Scott James, Ernest Gass, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

The Third Party Image

"…take a break from the election news, check out The Third Party..."

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