Wag the Dog (1997)


“A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.” – Conrad ‘Connie’ Brean

Number of Times Seen – Three times (Theater in ’98, 4 Apr 2011 and 13 Aug 2019)

Brief Synopsis – After the President of the US gets embroiled in a sex scandal days before the Election, he brings in a “fixer” to help get him out of this dilemma.

My Take on it – This is a film that proved to be quite prophetic in the way that its story is perceived.

It’s quite ironic that it came out just mere months prior to a real scandal in the White House and that actually helps make this story and characters seem even more plausible due to this.

The cast is superb and the rapid fire dialogue which is reminiscent of future Presidential TV shows (like the West Wing) and films helps make things seem even more realistic even if just in hindsight.

The original idea of this film was meant as a parody, but as real events mirrored the fiction, things seem even more realistic.

Dustin Hoffman was deservingly nominated for an Oscar for his work here as Best Actor even though the character portrayed by Robert De Niro is deeper and much more empowering.

This is a movie that manages to utilize the way that the media portrays things and projects it on the nation and the world even if it is not always based solely on the truth.

Apparently, not much had really changed in the world in the past 22 years.

Bottom Line – Amazingly ironic film that came at the perfect time because it allows for things to feel even more plausible. Superb cast helps keep the story flowing throughout and the rapid pace of things allows us to see this as being a realistic portrayal of politics and Hollywood when merged together. The story might have been meant as a parody yet it helps create a reality that is perceived about the office of the Presidency.  Hoffman was deservingly nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for his work here even if De Niro plays the best character in the film. The film manages to utilize the way that the media see things and there hasn’t been much change in that perspective in the 22 years since this film was made. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – After this film was released, U.S. President Bill Clinton became involved in a sex scandal with Monica Lewinsky. Real life events seemed to mirror the film’s plot in August 1998 when Clinton ordered bombing attacks of Al-Qaeda targets in the Middle East after he testified and just as Lewinsky was set to testify on the scandal, and later in December 1998 when his administration led a bombing raid in Iraq right before the U.S. House of Representatives was set to vote on his impeachment due to the Lewinsky scandal. Many political commentators and critics referenced the film even using the term ‘wag the dog’ to describe these events. Interest in the movie spiked quickly during this time. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10)

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