Wednesday, April 19, 2006

RAG TALE - Fleet Street brutally satirised

The hosts of one of my favourite movie podcasts recently discussed their top movie satires, and included great films such as BOB ROBERTS and NASHVILLE. I want to give a small shout out to a small British movie called RAG TALE - released in festivals in 2005 and on Region 2 DVD in 2006. RAG TALE brutally satirises British tabloid journalism in the manner of The Eye on acid. It features the outstanding actor Rupert Graves as the editor of a tabloid paper called The Rag. The paper is owned by a rich and ruthless businessman played by Malcom MacDowell, who is obsessed with climbing the British social ladder by publishing sycophantic articles about the Royal Family in contravention of the editorial line of the paper. Aiding him in his quest is his young American wife, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh. The movie is filled with the kind of scathing wit and putrid bilge that I had feared dead when The New Statesman and Spitting Image got the chop. I luxuriated in the back-biting, conspiring and foul-mouthed plotting that filled the ninety-odd minutes of the movie. HOWEVER, despite writing a satire to die for, writer-director Mary McGuckian has also committed visual suicide. Under her direction, the film is shot as if by a paralytic hunchback - all swerving hand-hold shots from odd angles. Worse still, it is edited to within an inch of its life - so much so that I felt nauseous watching it. FEAR NOT, dear reader, for there is a solution, much as it pains me to say it. We have to treat this movie as a radio play. You pop the DVD in the player, turn on the TV and then go into the next room and do some ironing. Hey presto! 90 minutes caustic wit and no need for a sick bag!

RAG TALE was shown at Edinburgh and the oh-so-wittily titled Raindance Film Fest 2005. It is available on Region 2 DVD.

1 comment:

  1. When Kermode reviewed this he said it was cut not just every second but every nano-second. Apparently James King vomited. Come on, review Brick. I know you've seen it. And what about A Year Without Love?