Monday, September 6, 2010

Wag The Dog (1997)

Stars : Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Anne Heche , Denis Leary , William H. Macy ,Willie Nelson .  

Directed By: Barry Levinson

Written By: Hilary Henkin, David Mamet

There has always been a back story to every military action taken by United States of America and most of these stories have come into mass criticism across the globe. We have had a lot of movies that showed the angle presented by U.S.A for its action but hardly very few that revealed the actual back office happenings. Wag The God was like a fresh breeze that I believe came out with the real backstage stuff and commendably in a very hilarious fashion.

The President election is due in 11 days and just then the current president who is hoping for re-election is struck by a sexual harassment allegation by a 16 year scout girl. The case looks serious and can dampen the chances of re-election for the big man. A political planner Conrad Brean (Robert Di Nero) is called in by the current presidents election team to divert the public attention from the scandal. He is rightly called as Mr. Fix It by Winifred Ames (Anne Heche) the presidents advisor, since the scandal is big and involves a young teen. Mr Fix It thinks over and concludes that only a war can take peoples mind off the scandle. He is able to create an  environment of a looming war with Albania, through a staged press conference and presenting fake video evidence of situation in Albania. To create the video evidence and mass concern he needs someone who can take it to big scale, that's where Stanley Motss(Dustin Hoffman) a big time Hollywood producer steps in and takes it upon himself to make sure that he gives to the public a war. How the team of Mr. Fix It , Miss Ames , Stanely and his team are able to fool the entire nation and bring the president back into office is what the story is.

Comedies, mostly which I have seen are either romantic ones or Adam Sandler genre of comedy, rarely I get to see black comedies. Dr. Strangelove was one of the last I had seen. and this one was my second. Superb writing. The series of events, the way they have been tied together is amazing, the screenplay writers deserve a huge applause for that. The dialogues were perfect sarcasm and so hilarious, that i cursed my self why it took me so long to watch this one. How even the biggest political scams and controversies are just pushed under the carpet by our beloved leaders, not just in USA but all over the world is brought out in the best possible way one could imagine. The writers are the actual heroes of this movie. Their work was supreme and should have been more applauded and recognised.

Robert Di Nero and Dustin Hoffman, Phew! what a team and when two of the greats come together its nothing short of legendary. The performances of either is brilliant, Mr.Di Nero is superb as Conrad Brean, one of his few comic roles in last century and Mr. Hoffman as Stanley, showcases one of the shades of his acting powers. Di Nero's character is cool , manipulative and highly impressive which I felt was a nothing unusual for Mr. Di Nero, as he is ultra cool very very impressive and when you hear him speak you are completely hooked. Most of Mr. Hoffman's characters have looked a bit on the edge or I may say they had this habit of constantly on move or going through things quickly or in a slightly odd manner and the same goes with Stanley. A high profile producer, who is kind of in awe of himself, wants recognition and see this opportunity to get his reward. Mr. Hoffman fits in perfectly and every time he uses the phrase "Oh ! this is nothing " I was hooked to see whats next. The expressions of both the actors are immaculate and whenever both the stars shared a frame it was awesome. One buzzing with energy enthusiasm and pride and the other cool, thinking over the impact while scratching his beard. Anne Heche is good and comes in perfect as a presidential advisor , always worried about what if the plan goes wrong, the first one to panic and the last one to calm down. Her scenes with Mr. Nero are really fun , coz our Mr Fix It always comes up with ideas which were hard to understand for her in first place and her confused questions and reactions were funny and cute. She looks beautiful through out in that smart suit of hers.

There is hardly anything that can be said which hasn't been already for the man Barry Levinson, the man behind brilliant movies like " Good Morning Vietnam", "Rain Man" and many others. He is superb in the way he lets the movie flow, the whole movie looks an effortless effort but hardly there is a moment where one may say that yeah this could have been better or the movie slacks a bit. Wag The Dog is funny from the start and maintains it till the very end but also leaves with something to thought, if you want to.

A superb movie, must watch specially in today's scenario with US military presence spreading into a lot of  countries.A good laugh is always great and I assure of lot in this one.

Plus : Super writing, good performances and a whole lot of fun.

Rating : 8.5/10

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