Wins the race to get the Brexit story on TV but thats not a good thing.
Brexit: The Uncivil War title sounds like it is a parody to start off with. It is in fact not a parody but is actually a story following the man behind the successful leave campaign in the UK back in 2016. Being British myself but being away from the country at the time I still to this day remain intrigued about how it all went down. I know that somewhere in the story of it all this is one big moment in history that will be played out in a good film and a few TV shows. This is none of those.
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Dominic Cummings, the man who was behind the Leave campaign. The story of this Brexit goes that Cummings used data agencies to capture the people of Britain who didn’t vote and so his campaign had the benefit of capturing voters who usually wouldn’t be there come polling day. Dominic Cummings is portrayed as a political version of Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes and apparently outsmarts every man in the room. The entire leave campaign is portrayed as heroes and the movie doesn’t give time to have a constructed argument about what actually happened, just that Cummings is a smart guy and is better than everyone, also the reasons why I don’t want another series of Sherlock.
The Uncivil War starts off strong, introducing someone you wouldn’t normally know about and also mixing in the people you do know. It does a good job at introducing each character, person, and where they stand in terms of staying or leaving. The problem is there is a lot of them. At times there will be a good minute of several people being introduced but they might not remain crucial in the whole story, they’re just there to show the scale. Brexit is obviously a huge event and there are so many people involved or that were involved. What Brexit: The Uncivil War doesn’t do is give you enough time with the characters.
If you split the TV movie into four quarters then the first three are focused on the buildup of the campaign. The movie shows you where the Leave party’s ideas came from and how they planned on getting that message out to people. It shows the arrogance of the Remain Party and how they at first assume they’re going to win.
It is in the last quarter where I found myself confused and left with the feeling that I’ve just sped through the Brexit Wikipedia page. The campaigning time for Brexit was ten weeks, which isn’t very long but in the movie, it is even shorter. It says the ten weeks of campaigning is beginning and then almost feels like it cuts to one big montage of people arguing and fighting, with footage that is real or isn’t
Now, this TV movie is made by HBO so I want to grab at a few straws here with some assumptions. The movie focuses for a small amount of time on the ad campaign and using peoples data and how that won them the Leave vote. It then ends with the usual text at the end of the aftermath, this then spins into the fact that one guy funded this thing and he also funds Donald Trump and the data companies were also used for his campaign. My argument is there isn’t going to be the sequel Donald Trump: Less Infinity War if we’re trying to copy Marvel titles to seem cool.
In the final moments the movie focuses on the data companies and how they’re using people data to use target ads to get them on their side. The movie wants to focus on this but simply doesn’t achieve it’s goal. It tries to focus on people you know instead of the people behind the scenes. I can’t imagine a lot of people know and understand completely how these data companies work and this movie would’ve been a great opportunity to discuss people’s data and how it is being used on you instead of just being about how Cummings helped orchestrate the Leave win.
Brexit: The Uncivil War is made in the UK but distributed by HBO and the final spin towards capturing the audience of American’s is unnecessary. Especially as a final note at the end of a super quick ending. Brexit: The Uncivil War would’ve been much better as a mini-series, focusing on individual characters at key moments during the campaign as opposed to this quick rush job to get it out first. The characters end up seeming like the heroes and what everyone wants instead of providing an argument of any kind. It is unfortunate because the movie starts off well and watching Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings would’ve been a good TV replacement for the now finished top political drama House of Cards.