» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

July 28, 2008
RATING: 7/10
Admittedly, Stephen Frears' 2003 television docudrama, The Deal, will likely fail to light American audiences on fire. Behind the scenes intrigue and political brokering between British political parties and MPs can be a muddled and confounding prospect in itself, let alone for an apple pie populace of folks who honestly believe Barack Obama is a "secret Muslim" and who can't locate Canada on a map. Is this a cynical, elitist view? Sure, but as with similar HBO political dramatizations like Recount, The Deal's target audience probably doesn't fall into the Red State category anyway.

Michael Sheen as Tony Blair.

But even for those in tune with politics and geopolitical happenings, the back story between former and current UK Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and the relationship they cultivated as freshman MPs, is something of a yawn. Which is precisely why The Deal must be viewed in a dramatic context, by its excellent performances, snappy writing, and swift filmic style. Michael Sheen plays Blair as a bright-eyed and somewhat dandy go-getter, while David Morrissey's Gordon Brown is a rumpled and serious politico. The two first meet in a cramped office space they must share at Parliament and form a friendship based as much on their shared Scottish ancestry as on any philosophy of political maneuvering. Rumor has long held that, after the death of Labour Party leader John Brown, a deal was struck between the two, a plan in which Brown would stand aside as Blair made a run for #10 Downing Street. In return, Blair would later support Brown's own run for Prime Minister. But, as Frears' film unfolds, problems arise when it appears that Blair isn't abiding by the terms of their agreement.

David Morrissey as Gordon Brown.

Frears is much better known for films like High Fidelity and The Queen, but he displays the same focus on character here as he has in previous, bigger budget productions. It's notable that as a successful Hollywood director he occasionally returns to television to work, something not many American directors of his caliber would choose to do. This DVD, released tomorrow as part of the Weinstein Company's Miriam Collection, features commentary from writer Peter Morgan and producer Christine Langan, and an interview with director Frears.

SEE ALSO: www.hbo.com/films/thedeal

Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other articles by Jonah Flicker.



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