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Wathe g the Dog is a 1997 film produced by Barry Levinson starring Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman (Ebert, 1998). It co-starred Denis Leary, Anne Heche, and William Macy.
The film focuses on a Washington spin-doctor who hires a film producer to develop a false war in order to direct people’s attention from a sex scandal involving the president (Ebert, 1998).
The movie was adapted from the storyline of the book American Hero written by Larry Beinhart (Wilson, 1998). It was produced during a period when the president of America (Bill Clinton) was involved in a sex scandal.
The film starts with an anonymous president of the US soliciting sexual favors from an underage girl in a private room. This incident takes place two weeks before an election in which the president is seeking reelection (Wilson, 1998).
Winifred Ames, the president’s consultant advises him to seek help from a renowned spin-doctor and political specialist, Conrad Brean. To divert the public’s attention from the sex scandal, spin-doctor Brean is asked to do something (Wilson, 1998).
Brean uses a nonconventional strategy to achieve this objective. He fabricates a fake war with Albania to induce the media into directing their attention to the fake war and ignore the sex scandal (Ebert, 1998).
Brean seeks help from a Hollywood producer (Motss) who develops a theme song for the war and produces fake footage depicting the adverse effects of the war. Participants include Liz Butsky, Fad King, and Johnny Green (Ebert, 1998).
Green composes a patriotic song for the war. Motss develops footage of an Albanian orphan girl running away from rapists who take advantage of the war situation to exploit girls (Wilson, 1998). He also introduces a logo that is used in news channels to represent the war.
The plan experiences a setback when one of the participants (Harrelson) is arrested. Despite several setbacks, Motss succeeds to avert the media’s attention from the scandal to the elections (Wilson, 1998). His plan is successful because the president is reelected.
Motss is angry when he realizes that the media does not credit the president’s victory to his plan. Instead, the media attributes the win to a slogan used by the president during campaigns. Motss upsets the president when he decides to tell the media the truth regarding the victory (Ebert, 1998).
The president warns him not to reveal the truth because it would endanger his life. The plea is ignored and Motss decides to go on with his plan.
Afraid that truth will be revealed, Brean kills Motss and makes his death look like a heart attack (Wilson, 1998). The film ends with a report of violence in Albania, the location of the fake war.
The main character in the movie is Brean, a spin-doctor known for diverting attention from one situation to another. In the film, his role is to divert attention from the president’s sex scandal involving the Firefly girl to the forthcoming elections.
He advises the president to extend his visit to Asia and deny that the B-3 bomber’s activation was due (Wilson, 1998). As the president extends his trip, Brean fabricates a story about war with Albania. He chooses Albania because few people know its location and they do not care.
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He uses the skills of Stanley Motss to create footage that proves the existence of the war. Brean succeeds in diverting the public’s attention and gets the president reelected for another term (Ebert, 1998). However, he threatens to reveal the secret behind the president’s victory.
The president kills him because he is afraid that truth will be revealed and as such compromise his presidency.
The movie is a political satire film that is highly entertaining. It involves many lies that are intended to conceal truth. Brean’s plan is the focus of the film. Brean executes the plan brilliantly and in a manner that keeps viewers entertained.
Use of political satire is controlled because it neither irritates nor vexes viewers. Acting skills displayed in the movie are commendable. Characters display exceptional skills that make the film engaging from beginning to end.
Development of a fake war improves the film’s appeal because it averts people’s attention and achieves the objective of the film. The tragic death of Brean signifies betrayal is a common phenomenon in politics.
Wag the dog is a political satire film that reveals strategies used by politicians to win elections and conceal the truth. It also reveals devious means that politicians use to cover their ills.
In the film, the president uses the skills of a political consultant (Brean) to cover his sex scandal involving a Firefly girl. Brean successfully gets the president reelected by diverting public attention from the scandal to the elections.
However, Brean is vexed when the media fails to recognize his efforts and decides to reveal the truth.
The president kills him to avoid compromising his victory and presidency. The movie is appealing because of the excellent presentation of political satire and display of brilliant acting skills.
Ebert, R. (1998). Wag the Dog. Web.
Wilson, S. (1998). Perpetually Rejuvenated Illusions. Web.