Wag the Dog – Wenn der Schwanz mit dem Hund wedelt (1997)

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Wag the Dog – Wenn der Schwanz mit dem Hund wedelt: Directed by Barry Levinson. With Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Anne Heche, Woody Harrelson. Shortly before an election, a spin-doctor and a Hollywood producer join efforts to fabricate a war in order to cover up a Presidential sex scandal.

“During the campaign to re-elect the president of America, an underage sex scandal between a girl scout and the president in the oval office. To divert attention spin doctor Conrad Brean is called in to manage the fall out and hold it off for the 11 days till the election. Conrad employs Hollywood producer Stanley Motss to produce a war in Albania to divert the media away from the real story.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThis was made before Clinton was accused of misconduct with Monica Lewinsky and the subsequent re-start of military action in Iraq. This seemed to give it a much greater feel of realism and much more credibility. However even before this happened it was still a very sharp and very good satire on political spin, but also managing to have a dig at Hollywood movie types. The story is told in a very stage-play fashion and is dialogue driven with very funny moments throughout. Itu0026#39;s not as terrifying as a real look at media manipulation could be because it chooses to be a comedy instead but it still makes plenty of valid points.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe two leads are excellent at the head of an all-star cast. De Niro manages to be a professor-style character while at the same time having an easily accessible sense of menace just beneath the surface. Hoffman is good sending up Hollywood producers well and drawing parallels between the creation of a film and the creation of political news stories. The cast also has a series of cameos and extended cameos who add both humour and quality to the film – Willie Nelson, Denis Leary, James Belsuhi, William H Macy etc.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eRecently in the UK weu0026#39;ve had huge problems with spin doctors running the Labour Government – to the extent that 11th September was described as u0026quot;goodu0026quot; by one as it gave them the chance to bury several bad news stories that they had stored up. And more recently with various Governmentsu0026#39; waging a media war to win support their stance regarding military action. This film doesnu0026#39;t make hugely serious points but it does make you think about how the media is used to shape public perception and make us think what those in charge want us to think.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eOverall a very funny, very clever satire that has a great cast, the only criticism being that it stretches itu0026#39;s point a little too far with the u0026quot;old shoeu0026quot; section.”

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