5.12.2008

It is YOUR Government...I suppose that is a small consolation


I watched Stephen Frears' The Queen earlier today, and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to check it out. It is quite an interesting production, both artistically, and politically.

Obviously, Helen Mirren was fantastic, but I was equally taken with Martin Sheen's Tony Blair throughout the film. While Mirren was allowed a certain amount of artistic leeway - there are very little public preconceptions about the Queen's private demeanor compared to Blair's - Martin Sheen was given the role of a very public, over-scrutinized politician in his first week in office. Considering that the film was made and released toward the end of Tony Blair's political fall from grace - directly due to his support of Bush's War in Iraq - one can't help but see the depiction of Blair's early days as somewhat bittersweet.

In the film's last scene, Queen Elizabeth warns Blair that the British people will one day turn on him, without notice. Of course, we, as viewers, know that this has already happened. Over the course of the film, Blair is repeatedly accused of snuggling up to the establishment, despite his reputation as a reformer. This, along with that line of dialogue from Mirren's Queen Elizabeth, seem to create a second, sub-textual narrative to the film: The Tragic Fall of Tony Blair.

Looking for the script online, I discovered that the aforementioned line spoken by the Queen was NOT in the original script. Hmmm...this just leads me to believe that this sub-text was very purposefully established by Mr. Frears.

Nate