Kirsty Capes with six British movies and TV shows to get you in the mood for the General Election…
Despite being a lover of all things available on the big and small screens, Jeremy Paxman and Dimbleby don’t really do it for me as entertaining television. Many of us are sick to the back teeth of watching our glorious PM candidates squirm under the fluorescent lights of the ITV television studios, or questions about the NHS. While it’s quite nice to laugh at the incompetence of our delightful parliamentary hopefuls and imagine moulding their play-dough-esque faces into different kinds of rotting fruit (just me?), there’s plenty of other ways to get excited for #GE2015 without wanting to throttle yourself with your own hair. Take a browse, for example, through a catalogue of fantastic television and film – where no one fluffs their lines and nearly everyone is better looking than David Cameron.
6. Black Mirror
Charlie Brooker’s unsettling satire looks at Britain in the not-so-distant future blighted by commercialism and consumerism. Dealing with new technologies like the internet and the seeping culture of entertainment on demand, Brooker’s dystopian nightmare in Black Mirror doesn’t seem so far-fetched when you look at the modern cut-throat mentality of the media and political landscapes.
5. The Iron Lady (2011)
Whatever your opinion on the late Margaret Thatcher, there’s no denying that Meryl Streep’s depiction of the former Prime Minister at various stages of her life truly lives us to her nickname. The innovation in cinematography in The Iron Lady makes it stand out from other political biopics, and the catalogue of the British acting elite turning out for this film makes it worth the watch. Jim Broadbent as Thatcher’s long suffering husband Dennis is a particular highlight, and adds a certain amount of humanity to the politician which the media never afforded her.
4. 1984 (1984)
Arguably the most iconic adaptation of George Orwell’s modernist critique of twentieth century society, Michael Radford’s film depicts the grey and dreary world of the totalitarian future imagined by a man who wants to preserve history and change the future. Brimming with poignant and fitting dialogue, 1984 offers a glimpse into would could be waiting for us if Big Brother prevails: “If you want a vision of the future, Winston, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.”
3. The Queen (2006)
I may not be a traditional depiction of British government but The Queen certainly provides an accurate representation of what one might imagine the relationship between the Royals and Government to be. Starring the fantastic Helen Mirren as the lady herself and Michael Sheen as Tony Blair, it’s a wonder that this film even made it with the amount of insinuated accusations it levels at some of the country’s most powerful figureheads.
2. V for Vendetta (2005)
Featuring once already on this list as the oppressed, John Hurt appears in V for Vendetta as the oppressor, a fearsome dictator who will stop up nothing to remain in control; a stark contrast to his role as Winston in 1984. Natalie Portman’s Evey undergoes a political awakening at the hands of the mysterious V, and the pair successfully transform the mindset of the British youth. V for Vendetta has had a very real cultural impact around the world, a testament to the nuanced narrative crafted by the Wachowski Brothers’ formidable screenplay.
1. The Thick of It
There is nothing quite like the razor-sharp dialogue in The Thick of It, an absolutely sublime parody of British politics. Peter Capaldi must be the only Doctor not to have that role as the one that defined his career. Malcolm Tucker ranges from hyperactive sweary person to terrifying dictator and finally to broken man in this shockingly accurate and delightfully dry presentation of the bureaucracy and hypocrisy of government.