Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA, 1997. Baltimore Pictures, New Line Cinema, Punch Productions, Tribeca Productions. Screenplay by Hilary Henken, David Mamet, based on the book American Hero by Larry Beinhart. Cinematography by Robert Richardson. Produced by Robert De Niro, Barry Levinson, Jane Rosenthal. Music by Mark Knopfler. Production Design by Wynn Thomas. Costume Design by Rita Ryack. Film Editing by Stu Linder. Academy Awards 1997. Golden Globe Awards 1997.
Exceptionally witty comedy by Barry Levinson stars Dustin Hoffman as a movie producer who is enlisted by top government official Robert De Niro to create a war for the American public to see on their television screens. The hope is that it will detract from a sex scandal that the current president is embroiled in right before his next election campaign. David Mamet and Hilary Hankin’s fantastic script is so impressive because every step of the way you are completely pulled in by the possibility that anything in this film could actually happen (and considering that the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky followed shortly thereafter and was detracted from by some turbulence in Bosnia, many people thought it did). Anne Heche is fabulous as a political aide trying to keep her head above water, and Hoffman really pulls off a perfectly timed comedic performance in this momentous political satire that, amazingly, was filmed in just over thirty days (Levinson went straight to working on Michael Crichton’s Sphere right afterwards).