Wag The Dog, Wag The Dog MovieReview, Movie Review, Film Review
|Michael A. Maynez|
"Wag The Dog"
The mounting of Barry Levinson's flick "Wag The Dog" is just too slick, too clever, and too witty for words. The fact that the media already manipulates us to the extent that we don't know where reality bites or bytes is very disconcerting. What is there left to believe? How to create a diversionary action to suppress the would be truth of a young Firefly Girl who is given the opportunity to do more for her country than is expected, especially in the oval office, with allegedly the President of United States.
With elections only a couple of weeks away, the opposing party is ready to release the story to the frenzied media and is already using the theme song of Maurice Chevalier, "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" in his political ads. Well you really have a war of words. What a better way to distract the press than creating a war to focus all the attention on it.
Robert DeNiro as a spin-doctor and Anne Heche as a White House aide that labor in the recesses of the basement of the White House like werewolves. They enlist the help of producer Dustin Hoffman, to create a pageant, as DeNiro likes to call it. Hoffman is more realistic and asks him, if he really wants him to create a war, which he proceeds to do so and poor Albania falls prey to their efforts, nuclear terrorists at that. Mr. Hoffman delivers a performance of Robert Evans that falls short of a caricature. Very deftly from speech patterns, to life style and costume savvy, almost an inside Hollywood joke.
Willie Nelson is recruited to write songs that will stir up patriotic fervor. A hero in the biceps of Woody Harrelson, as Sgt. Wm. Schumann, becomes "Good Old Shoe"; these sequences are really a hoot. Based on Larry Beinhart's book "American Hero", we cannot help but wonder how ridiculous and real it translated into the screen. Robert Evans should be livid and he is quoted," I am tempted to do an imitation of Dustin Hoffman, that dwarf, but than I would have to do it on my knees" end of quote. The Academy may reward Hoffman with an Oscar nomination.
Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema
Produced by: Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro, Barry Levinson
Directed by: Barry Levinson
With: Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Anne Heche, Denis Leary, Willie Nelson, Andrea Martin, Kirsten Dunst
Casting by: Ellen Chenoweth, Debra Zane
Executive produced by: Michael De Luca, Claire Rudnick Polstein, Ezra Swerdlow
Muisc by: Mark Knopfler
Editor: Stu Linder
Customes by: Rita Ryack:
Production designed by: Wynn Thomas
Director of photography: Robert Richardson
Based on the book: "American Hero" by Larry Beinhart
Screenplay by: Hilary Henkin, David Mamet
Released 2 January 1998
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Original Date Monday 12 January 1998
Updated Monday 12 January 1998