Wag The Dog (1997)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

USA, 1997.  Baltimore Pictures, New Line Cinema, Punch Productions, Tribeca Productions.  Screenplay by , , based on the book American Hero by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

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).  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).

Academy Award Nominations:  Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman); Best Adapted Screenplay

Berlin Film Festival Award:  Special Jury Prize

Golden Globe Award Nominations:  Best Picture-Musical/Comedy; Best Actor-Musical/Comedy (Dustin Hoffman); Best Screenplay

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