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United Kingdom 2003
Directed by
Stephen Frears
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

The Deal

Although made for Granada Television and thus somewhat constrained by budget, particularly in its location filming which makes no visible attempt to recreate the 1980s, The Deal stands with any feature film thanks to screenwriter Peter Morgan, director Stephen Frears and vital performances from Michael Sheen and David Morrissey as Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

The film looks at the rise of the two men through the British politics from their freshmen years in opposition to the Thatcher government, to becoming key players in the modernisation of  Labour. Both men are portrayed as ambitious but with Brown lacking the savvy and personal ambition that eventually got Blair the leadership position and the Prime Ministership.

Morgan’s script is dense but makes the cut and thrust of politics palpable as he takes us through the maze-like corridors of power and Frears direction is suitably to the point. The way in which the film interweave the archival footage with the fictionalizations is beautifully done making the film a useful potted history lesson. At the end of the day, however, it is Sheen's and Morrissey’s performances which make the film truly enthralling.

FYI: Michael Sheen would play Blair again in The Queen (2006. also directed by Frears) and The Special Relationship (2010), both films being scripted by Peter Morgan.




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