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||IMDB Rating: 7.0/10 from N/A votes
||Release: 08 Nov 2007 /
||Director: Stephen Frears,
||Synopsis: Follows the rise to power of Tony Blair, and his friendship and rivalry with his contemporary, Gordon Brown.
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It is approaching an election in the UK when the leader of the Labour
John Smith, suffers another in a line of heart attacks and dies. With the
leadership campaign about to start the clear choice appears to be Gordon
Brown, a stanch Scotsman. However Tony Blair is also beginning to appear
more likely as he will appeal to Southern voters who would be turned off
Brown. Blair rings Brown to arrange a meeting to discuss which will go
the job. The film flashbacks to the start of their relationship, sharing
office in Westminster on their first seats.
I have recently seen a BBC political drama (The Project) which was focused
around the rise (and perversion) of Labour - it lasted 4 hours and was
unlikely to win over anyone who wasn't already suitably informed about the
topic. The Deal, on the other hand, is 90 minutes long and is a punchy
little summary of the supposed deal brokered between Blair and Brown to
prevent them having to battle for the party leadership in the wake of John
Smith's death. This is worthwhile as it is likely to attract those not
actually into politics but just looking for a reasonable drama to pass the
As such it moves along quite well. It covers lot of ground quite quickly
and will give those lacking the knowledge (like me) a good understanding
the political landscape of the time. It also has a certain amount of
- some of which is real and some of which is provided by characters and
sinister direction. The one flaw I did feel it had was that it was a
and not a documentary, to that end dialogue has been created and scenes
the combination of sources and records. This is still good but it has the
effect that we can't take everything at face value - I would have
if more sources were clearly defined and the facts more clearly
The fact that the whole film is a drama means that I couldn't be sure how
much of the film (or how little) was actually artistic
The cast are good. The better role is Morrissey as Brown. He manages to
get his mannerisms right without letting it turn into a impression, he
him as a dour character (which Brown pleaded innocence of the next day on
the BBC, despite claiming not to have seen the film) which is the image
have of him, but he does bring him to life well. Sheen's Blair is also
but is more of a mimic than a real character - it hard to describe but it
felt like he had spent more time focusing on the mannerisms than the
character , although, that said, he did bring another layer out at some
points (witness his face change as Brown leaves the restaurant at the
Rhys' Mandelson is too much of an effort to be sinister and didn't work
me - the Mandelson that we have seen is more lively and overt than this,
does have his sinister side but the fact that it is in this colourful
makes it more interesting, that wasn't brought out. The support cast is
good but this is a two-hander and the two characters carry it well - even
the restaurant scene is not exactly the equal of Heat!
Overall this works well as a political drama which will reach those not
normally reached by this type of material. However the fact that the
were mixed with dramatised and fictional scenes was a problem for me and I
wasn't totally sure what bits were real and what bits were interpreted.
Still an enjoyable film nonetheless.
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