Damian Lewis stars as the late ex-Toronto mayor Rob Ford in Run This Town

Advertisement
Damian Lewis Rob Ford Run This Town
Credit: The Image Direct; Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Getty

The story of former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is getting its time in theaters with the new film Run This Town.

Damian Lewis stars as the eccentric Ford, who died from cancer at the age of 46 in 2016, in the Ricky Tollman-directed film. Ben Platt plays Bram Shriver, a journalist who exposes Ford’s drug use.

The movie follows Platt’s Shriver as he aims to make a name for himself at a Toronto publication when he meets a source who wants to sell him a video of Ford smoking crack cocaine.

The film premiered at South by Southwest in March 2019 and is set for theatrical release in the U.S. and Canada this Friday.

With a cast that includes Jennifer Ehle, Nina Dobrev, Mena Massoud and Scott Speedman, here’s everything critics are saying about Run This Town.

Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan called the film “smart, ambitious and impressive” adding Ehle and Speedman were “excellent.”

Run This Town faced more mixed reviews from other outlets, with Ben Kenigsberg of The New York Times, writing, “The movie never quite reconciles its assorted perspectives into a coherent point of view,” adding it was “a jagged, snappy procedural.”

Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com wrote the movie “feels like it bites off way more than it can chew,” and taking aim at Lewis’ fat suit, writing the actor looked “disturbingly like Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers movies.”

Joe Leydon from Variety critiqued the film as well, writing “there is much to admire but a lot to admonish” about the film, specifically for Lewis’ “heavily latexed” look “in a less-than-convincing fat suit” to star as Ford.

“It’s not always easy keeping up with this film, and there are more than a few times when it really doesn’t seem worth the effort,” writes Leydon.

Chris Knight, a critic for the National Post, said the movie “never captures the bonkers nature of the 2010 Toronto mayor,” adding that while the film takes liberties with actual events “you don’t write a film about a Toronto mayor named Rob Ford and then get to play the fiction card.”

Currently, Run This Town has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 64 percent.

Ford was widely known for his gaffes, stunts and alcohol and drug abuse, and was often the butt of jokes by American late-night hosts like David Letterman, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

The ex-mayor initially denied allegations that he had used crack cocaine, but after a police investigation into Toronto gangs uncovered videos of Ford smoking the illicit drug, he admitted to incidents of public drunkenness, drinking and driving, and illegal drug use. In November 2013, he confessed in a press conference that he had tried crack “probably in one of my drunken stupors.”

The ex-mayor was eventually stripped of his powers in the wake of the scandals. Despite his troubled reputation, Ford maintained a loyal following known as the “Ford Nation.”

After a two-month stint in rehab, he returned to office in June 2014 and then launched a re-election bid for mayor. He was forced to end his campaign after he was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of cancer called pleomorphic liposarcoma in 2014. He died in March 2016.

Run This Town is in theaters Friday.