Beloved Enemy

Beloved Enemy


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Rule One in the diplomat's handbook: what is said matters less than how it is said. David Leland's script is wordy and Alan Clarke makes no attempt to speed things up with a little light action. This is boardroom banter, washroom plottage and country house politics - the art of the deal.

The British government, with the assistance of private enterprise, is in talks with the Russians to build a tyre factory on Soviet soil, using Western know-how and a local (cheaper) work force.

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There are furtive discussions about laser technology, which may be used for something other than car accessories, such as satellite defense systems. "How can you have an arms industry," the businessman says, "if you don't have an enemy?" Even the enemy accepts the logic (financial benefits) of that.

Crisply cynical, the film has a dogged fascination. If this is really how things work at the highest level, there is no shame and little honour in big business. Clarke plays the role of observer to Leland's double dealing. His slow, uncinematic approach concentrates the mind on machinations of persuasion, rather than the fruits of its deceptive rhetoric.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Play For Today about the influence of big business on world politics.

Director: Alan Clarke

Writer: David Leland

Starring: Graham Crowden, Tony Doyle, Oscar Quitak, Steven Berkoff

Year: 1981

Runtime: 75 minutes

Country: UK


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