Jul 15, 2012

Wag the dog

Wag the Dog, 1997
Director: Barry Levinson
Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Anne Heche, Woody Harrelson

Stage: Home theatre, lovely Saturday evening

Wag in short: After being caught in a scandalous situation days before the election, the president does not seem to have much of a chance of being re-elected. One of his advisers contacts a top Hollywood producer in order to manufacture a war in Albania that the president can heroically end, all through mass media.

Preps: It is a recommendation from a side I really appreciate. I have never seen a bad movie with such recommendation. Plus, a claim that every person that works in mkt should see this. Hence.. am anxious with expectation.

Reality: Well, it's always good to see and hear what the president team has in their sleeve. In this case, I am just bursting with laughter. First, do you get caught with a scout days before the election? (you don't). Still, this is the case here and the team needs to wrap it up before the years of preps go rotten.
In any case, I seriously doubt now (after seeing this) in every war, every little thing the media produces, every announcement ever made by government. I see in this movie, how rotten it might be, behind the scenes, on a place we don't see or hear about. Even the closest to the president in this case don't know bits of scenario that is driven to the masses.
For a person living in the balcan region, it's highly amusing, how other countries (us in perticular) abuse the names of foreign yugoslaw republics and use it as a "terrorist" country. May it be Bosnia or Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia or in this case, even a southern country, Albania. What did Albania do to us, the chieftain asks.. What it didn't do to us, is the real question, De Niro answers. And creates a stunt war, made in studio. Was the Gulf War really directed in studio? Maybe not, but it made me question every bit of information I received about the event.
The power of marketing, if driven with intelligence and style, is amazing. The movie depicts real drama you can setup with mere imagination. At the end, how convenient, the director gets shot/killed for trying to speak up. How american!
This piece is one of the brightest I have seen lately. Even though it doesn't have the scenes, the photography, the music, or anything really obvious, it has a strong story and a direction. How convenient it is to have Hoffman in the role of the producer, fighting for his rights :) I could just burst in laughter again. His imagination inside the piece and intercapturing the role he's playing is spectacular. President wants a white kitten? We will give him the white kitten.
Last, but not least. Bringing in the fallen hero (making a mistake and afterwards, having him killed and watch the whole US cheering for his fallen return, with a super dog behind, wagging his tail).. it reminds me of some scenes I really admire in Monty Phython. If you are a fan, you will love this piece. If you are more average, romantic comedy type of movie fan, you won't really get all the fun parts there are here. Because some of them are just beneath the average skin.

My personal rating: 9,0 (absolutely brilliant. I loved it and laughed long afterwards)

Wag the Dog on IMDB

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