The Special Relationship
- Director:Richard Loncraine
- Cast:Hope Davis, Helen McCrory, Dennis Quaid, Michael Sheen
- Release Date:August 05, 2010
- Running time:92 minutes
- Film Worth:$10.50
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Provides real insight into the dynamics of power and politics.
The titular relationship refers to the one between the UK and America, and is often associated with the specific rapport between Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George W. Bush. This film, however, picks the earlier, less obvious - and rather interesting - subject of Blair's friendship with President Bill Clinton. The core of the story is set between 1997 and 2000: the early years of Blair's Prime Ministership, and the final ones of the Clinton Presidency.
Michael Sheen (The Queen, The Deal, Frost/Nixon) seems to get trotted out every time that Blair or David Frost are mentioned on stage or screen, and he's okay here. So, for that matter, are Hope Davis as the toughly resilient Hillary Clinton and Helen McCrory as the influential Cherie Blair. But it's Dennis Quaid who delivers the film's most memorable performance, capturing every facet of Bill Clinton's charisma and intelligence.
These were of course turbulent times in The White House, what with the furore and threats of impeachment over "Monicagate." That scandal is duly dealt with, but far more absorbing are the arguments, vacillations and speeches which precede the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. There's something inescapably cartoonish and distancing about watching actors play familiar public figures, however well, but the dramatic content still gets us in. Peter Morgan's script is ambivalent about the moral integrity of the two protagonists, or the lack thereof. Blair is presented as both idealistic and sanctimoniously self-serving, and Clinton as wary and calculating but essentially a "straight shooter", with both men seeing themselves as "progressive, centre-left politicians."
The best, and most telling, line comes from a Washington spin doctor: "It's a hell of a lot easier to change what your party stands for than to change what people want." Says it all really, doesn't it?