Tuesday, 25 April 2006

Wag the Dog (1997) - ickleReview (DVD)

A disciple of Network, Wag the Dog tells the story of spin-doctor Conrad Brean (Robert De Niro), who is hired by the President to cover up a sex scandal (pre-empting the Lewinsky affair). Brean (aka "Connie") immediately begins to manipulate the media by denying the existence of the B-3 bomber, which doesn't exist, and then proceeds to manufacture a war with Albania to distract the media's attention for 11 days until the presidential election. He enlists the help of Hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman) to create a pageant of war, including an image, a soundtrack, and merchandizing tie-ins.

The screenplay, co-written by David Mamet, is as tight as you would expect. Anne Heche gives a strong supporting performance as Winifred Ames, one of the President's top media aides. A rip-roaring indictment of the way the media game works. Brilliantly funny and painfully true.

Nugget: Why does a dog wag its tail? Because a dog is smarter than its tail. If the tail were smarter, the tail would way the dog.

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