27 May 2010 | timdalton007
A Satire For Today From Nearly Three Decades Ago
Some films are truly ahead of their time. The 1982 satire Wrong Is Right is such a film. Though deemed unbelievable when first released nearly three decades ago its satire of TV news being driven more by entertainment then facts, Islamic terrorists seeks nuclear weapons and international intrigue makes it even more relevant today. In short it's a satire for today from yesterday.
The film features a fine cast. Sean Connery stars as Patrick Hale, a globe trotting TV reporter who uncovers the story of a life time. Connery shows off a considerable talent for doing black comedy throughout and comes across well as a cynical reporter who ends up virtually being the voice of reason towards the films end. George Grizzard (as the President), Rosalind Cash (as the Vice-Pesident), Robert Webber (as the CIA director) and Dean Stockwell (as the President's chief of staff) come across well as various government officials caught up in the crisis while in the midst of a presidential election. There's also Robert Conrad as the trigger happy General Wombat in charge of the counter terrorism task force in a performance perhaps a bit too reminiscent of George C. Scott in Doctor Strangelove. Facing off against them are the terrorists lead by Rafeeq (Henry Silva) and Leslie Nielsen as a proto-George W. Bush presidential candidate twenty years before the fact. That's not forgetting either Kathrine Ross as Sally Black or Hardy Kruger as a European arms dealer as both have small but important roles in the films. All together they make for a fine cast for this satire.
It's the satire and script that really makes this film stand out. Inspired by or loosely based on. depending on your choice of phrase, Charles McCarry's 1979 novel The Better Angels which like the film was deemed unbelievable at the time it originally came out. But the film would prove to be eerily prophetic of the world more then two decades later. Terrorists blow up airplanes without warning, a wealthy Middle-Eastern nation seeks to buy nuclear weapons for terrorists and suicide bombers blow themselves up with no warning may have been unbelievable thirty years ago but are practically ripped from the headlines of today. Plus things such as Leslie Nielsen's presidential candidate Mallory who, as not just played by Nielsen but written as well, could easily be mistaken for a satire of George W. Bush if the film hadn't been made in the 1980's but sometime in the last ten years. Yet all the while the film plays not so much as a satire but as a thriller as Hale explores the worlds of his own TV companies bias, government conspiracies, election year politics and Islamic terrorism. But the film works because of its heavy topics rather then despite them because it exposes the sheer absurdities that lies at the heart of it all. While the technology and fashions are those of the early 1980's the film could easily have been released, as the opening of the film states, in the time between now and later.
Armed with a fine cast and an excellent satire/thriller script, Wrong Is Right stands out nearly three decades after its original release. With its plot of TV news being driven more by entertainment then facts, Islamic terrorists seeks nuclear weapons and international intrigue it's hard to believe that a film from thirty years ago could speak so much more about the decades after it was originally released. But this film does and it would appear to have much more effect now then it has ever had. Wrong Is Right is a satire for today from nearly three decades.