The DealThree years before the massive success of the Stephen Frears-directed, Peter Morgan-written drama The Queen, this made for television prequel based around the relationship between former Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen – who reprised his role in The Queen) and current Prime Minister Gordon Brown (David Morrissey) was released in the UK. And now that viwers are familiar with the well-paced style and dramatic flair of this writing/directing duo, The Deal has been released as part of The Miriam Collection by The Weinstein Company.

With a similar mix of fact and fiction to its sister movie, this film tells the behind-the-scenes story of the political relationship/rivalry between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Chronicling their early days in Parliament sharing an office to their meteoric  and similar rises in power in the Labour party, Peter Morgan’s script manages to create tension and drama around extremely realistic conversations. Obviously, and director Stephen Frears confirms this in an interview in the bonus features, most of the script is mere conjecture as in many cases very few people were present. Michael Sheen is enjoyable enough as Tony Blair, but David Morrissey is striking as Gordon Brown. With his gruff demeanor and constant intensity, Morrissey is hard to look away from when he’s on screen. It’s his scenes that really push the movie forward, his emotional outbursts giving the otherwise subdued film a strong sense of emotion.

 The film is only 84 minutes long, which is to its benefit as it starts to drag a bit by the end – after all, there’s only so much drama that can be created from this relationship. The Deal is much more exciting than any political movie (lacking explosions and whatnot) has a right to be. Anyone who liked The Queen should  be more than happy with this prequel… it only took 5 years to be released in the U.S.

Zach’s Rating: B
Perfect For: Those looking for some background on Tony Blair’s Ministry
Stay Away if: You were bored with The Queen

To purchase The Deal, visit Amazon

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