LowComDom Performances Presents
Film Review - Wag the Dog
Here's a real treat. Hollywood examines in a farcical way the methods of the political insider. In these times of formula films and rip-offs of old TV shows, Wag the Dog is fresh, funny and, if you believe in conspiracies, believable.
A great cast has been assembled for Wag the Dog. Most notably are Robert De Niro as political spin doctor, Conrad Brean, and Dustin Hoffman as motion picture producer Stanley Motss. Brean has a problem to solve. His president client has been caught with his pants down just days before an election. Without help, the president will be defeated by the scandal.
Brean is an old hand at political dirty tricks and, in this instance, he pulls a big rabbit out of his hat -- Motss. Motss is asked to fake a war to rally the American people around the president in time to be re-elected.
Both of these actors are Oscar caliber in Wag the Dog. De Niro has a focus that prevents morality from kicking in. He must at all costs have the president re-elected. He is calm, cool and collected throughout, simply focused on the job.
Hoffman plays what might become a stereotype of the Hollywood Producer. Every problem is minimized down to "This is nothing." It never seems to dawn on Motss that telling the big fat lie is wrong. Again, a focus develops and nothing other than getting all the shots, working in a great song, and pulling off the illusion matters.
Wag the Dog hits many home runs. It is so absurd that it is very funny. It also asks us to consider the morality of our political system.
Directed by Barry Levinson
Released in 1997
MPAA Rating: R
Reviewed by Mongo