The Killing$ of Tony Blair
The Killing$ of Tony Blair is, like its title, a clumpy but entertaining political exposé, with a flair for the dramatic to cover its lack of new information. Opening with hard-hitting footage of armed conflict in Iraq interspersed with a speech from Blair attempting to reassure the Iraqi people of his good intentions, the documentary tracks his triumphant entrance to Downing Street in 1997 to details of the brutality of the Iraq occupation and his subsequent friendships with dictators and oppressive world leaders. Having been crowdfunded by over 5,000 people, who are listed in their entirety in the credits, the film is narrated by George Galloway, who often delivers his strongly-felt yet sometimes rambling speeches directly to the camera.
A cynical portrayal of the already damning findings of the Chilcot report, Sanne van den Bergh and Greg Ward’s documentary is convincing in its subject matter but struggles to overcome its formulaic approach to an already well-publicised matter. Dissecting Blair’s income during and after his time as Prime Minister, the directors use interviews as testimonies against Blair’s character and his methods. Among the more engaging interviewees are Stephen Fry and Lauren Booth, Cherie Blair’s half sister. Archive footage is also included, displaying the luxuries of the former prime minister’s career, from a £30 million private jet to his many past celebrity parties. Requesting an interview at Blair’s plush Mayfair business headquarters, Galloway has the door figuratively slammed in his face.
These elements are all introduced rapidly, and the documentary wastes no time in setting up its tone and argument, and as a result quickly loses momentum. Galloway and the film share a tendency towards drama: wandering down misty London streets, he remarks at one point that “the Labour party had been hijacked, and was being flown to destruction.” A generic soundtrack and equally cheesy visual cues add to the sense that the film is compensating with hyperbole for a well-trodden subject. The footage of the Iraq War is powerful, but many images are familiar and commonly used in similar documentaries and newsreels. Telling us nothing new, The Killing$ of Tony Blair seems a little late to be the takedown of Blair it so greatly wants.
The Killing$ of Tony Blair is released nationwide on 27th July 2016.
Watch the trailer for The Killing$ of Tony Blair here: