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- A conversation with director Stephen Frears
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The story concerns the friendship and rivalry between Members of Parliament Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as they worked their way up the ranks of the Labour Party throughout the 1980s and into the '90s (they were considered the "opposition party" as long as the Conservative Party was in power); when their party leader, John Smith, suddenly died in 1994, both Blair and Brown were poised to take over. Though the pair had been united in their desire to "modernize" the Labour Party and put it back in power, the shrewd and friendly Blair was becoming convinced that he would be a more likely Labour candidate than the passionate, intellectual Brown to beat the Conservative candidate in the next election. So they supposedly struck a deal wherein Blair would run as the Labour candidate for Prime Minister: If elected, he would in turn give Brown unprecedented power as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and then Blair would step down after his first term and let Brown take over as PM.Read more ›
Despite a second nuanced performance by the remarkable Michael Sheen, "The Deal"--as another reviewer has observed--is far from being a 'prequel' to "The Queen". Nevertheless, director Stephen Frears has created a fascinating depiction of the two leaders who were to dominate British politics for thirteen years. He has also given us a glimpse into what, in Shakespeare's hands, might have been a single scene in one of his political tragedies.
"The Deal" presents Gordon Brown, beautifully portrayed by David Morrissey, as a man who is motivated politically by an earnest and zealous desire for reform; who holds the leadership of the Labour Party (and future as Prime Minister, if the party should ever come to power) as a cherished goal to be sought as a prize of honour. Fate intercedes in the form of the young, eager, charismatic and increasingly ambitious attorney, Tony Blair, whom the more politically experienced Brown befriends and mentors in the House of Commons. The director leaves Blair's motivations ambiguous though, only implying the moment when he decides to seize the power; whether he does so by chance or by design is left to the viewers to decide.Read more ›
This first movie is much less commercial - in the sense that it is less flashy. Gordon Brown, as we all know, doesn't have the personality of Tony Blair, and this first installment does not try to change that dynamic. The guy who plays Gordon Brown does a fantastic job (I got a better appreciation of him in this film than ever before). And the times (as with The Queen) are rendered with real news clips of peripheral characters, and grainy TV shots. So you get to see Maggy Thatcher, John Lord, and others as we all remember them.
Though it moves somewhat slowly, and renders quite a few political speeches, this film is a must see for all who are interested in the fascinating political career of Tony Blair, and/or in the times that spanned the last of the Reaganesq years and rise of the Labor party in Britain, the Clinton years, and finally, critically, the George W Bush administration. (I hope the same creative team will tackle the Bush years in a final installment - they seemed to hint as much in the close to That Special Relationship.) This is the film that captures Tony Blair's remarkable political beginnings, and makes a start at an examination of his character.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
England’s a state of astonishing hypocrisy, execrable cuisine, and foul weather.
(Although she does make some good brews--Ruddles County and Tetley’s, by preference. Read more
Once again Amazon's catalog describes this DVD as full screen, when it is in fact anamorphic widescreen (1:85). Read morePublished on January 29, 2014 by NickL
I like this movie a lot and I like Gordon Brown; i'm a child of the commonwealth. Pretty interesting to look into the behind the scenes activities of political... Read morePublished on December 30, 2013 by CharlotteS
I REALLY ENJOYED THIS MOVIE AND IT IS WHAT I WANTED. I AM INTO HISTORICAL AND MILITARY MOVIES. IT WAS A GREAT MOVIE.Published on January 6, 2012 by Hogan_62
This is a must have DVD to get! I love this movie & Michael Sheen is so wonderful in this movie-he does a great job! The movie is excellent in everyway possible! Read morePublished on December 21, 2011 by Lisa Gaudiosi
The Deal portrays the rise of the two men who remade the Labour Party in early 90s and kicks off the Peter Morgan/Stephen Frears cycle of films about Blair in the 90s. Read morePublished on July 10, 2011 by Michael L. Eads