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A Reel Life film section

Issue: Winter 2010

The Special Relationship (2010) movie review

Strange and Strained Friendship


All political friendship is strategic.

Between heads of government a Special Relationship is the highest grade of alliance. When Tony Blair came to power in the United Kingdom he was bluntly informed that between himself, England, Clinton and the United States of America no such relationship existed.

However an odd partnership developed between the little country that could no longer claim a great sprawling empire and the self-named superpower so rich in people, assets and bombs.

movie DVD, The Special Relationship; Festivale film review; 220x277

Never underestimate the politics of friendship.

It's easier to change what your party stands for than what the people want.

The Special Relationship is the story of Blair and Clinton -- a certain movement in the global political realms that appeared to be putting parties with similar agendas in power.

Blair elevated himself to special relationship by taking a rescuing stand by Clinton at the beginning of the Monica Lewinski scandal, despite Clinton's existing history as a prevaricator and sexual predator.

The difficulty with biographical/ historical films such as this transatlantic venture (BBC and HBO) is giving the film a dramatic story arc.

The Special Relationship takes us on a walk through a period of history encompassing Clinton's Teflon-like survival, Hilary's rise to power in her own right (if not in her own name!), and the racially-motivated atrocities in Cosovo.

Despite the dramatic doings in the world, The Special Relationship is still a film where people sit around talking. They talk in offices, in bathrooms, in toilets, on the golf course, and in aeroplanes, but they are still talking about decisions to act.

Competently told, though desultory, this film ends before (the fictional) The Ghost Writer begins. Between the two films we see the beginning and the possible consequences of special relationships.

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by Ali Kayn
Australian release 2010
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.

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Just the facts:

Title: The Special Relationship (2010)
Written by: Peter Morgan
Directed by: Richard Loncraine
Running time:

The Players: Michael Sheen ,Dennis Quaid ,Helen McCrory,Hope Davis

Official website:
IMDb entry

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