There is an upcoming HBO movie on Brexit that seems super-timely considering it is unfolding even now. Titled simply Brexit, the movie tells the tale of how it all began, from the Vote Leave campaign kick started by Dominic Cummings to get the United Kingdom out of the European Union.
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Cummings, a balding, earnest man not reluctant to build an entire campaign on a lie. Other usual suspects like Nigel Farage (Paul Ryan) and Boris Johnson (Richard Goulding) — with the amusing trademark hairdo — also appear.
Cummings aims to create the biggest political upset since the fall of Berlin Wall. The trailer presents how the slogans like “Take Britain back” and “Let’s fight for control” were just as empty as the promises that were made.
The supporters of the leave campaign used social media in the manner Trump and his campaign managers did in the recent US presidential campaign. The leave campaign utilised the subliminal racist tendencies and fear of immigrants among a large section of the British.
However, there is also a sense of grudging admiration among the writers of the movie. The Vote Leave campaign was indeed ingenious, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum.
The events have an ironic side, but the movie still seems earnest and not an out-and-out satire like Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin.
Rory Kinnear of Penny Dreadful fame plays the role of Craig Oliver, a journalist who was the Director of Communications of the then British prime minister David Cameron and the head of the remain campaign.
He accuses Cummings of “feeding a toxic culture of fear and hate. You can’t close the box once it’s been opened. It’s your edge, newly found.” Cummings replies, “There is a new politics in town. One that you cannot control.”
The movie synopsis reads, “The result of the Brexit referendum in summer 2016 caused a political earthquake that laid waste to the normally stable British establishment and sent political tremors around the world. Cumberbatch portrays Dominic Cummings, who spearheaded the Vote Leave campaign. Rory Kinnear plays Craig Oliver, Prime Minister David Cameron’s director of communications and head of the Remain campaign.”
It continues, “This provocative feature-length drama goes behind the scenes, revealing the personalities, strategies and feuds of the Leave and Remain campaigns. The tactics employed by Vote Leave during the data-driven campaign swayed a historically silent voting bloc that would ultimately decide the outcome of the referendum, as well as affecting future elections around the world.”
Sherlock and Black Mirror veteran Toby Haynes directs a James Graham script. Brexit premieres on January 19, 2019.