List Film

The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer (4 stars)

THE RISE AND RISE OF MICHAEL RIMMER

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(12) 94min (Digital Classics DVD retail)

COMEDY

Written by Peter Cook, John Cleese and Graham Chapman, this 1970 political satire was panned on release, yet now looks startlingly prophetic. Cook was never more charismatic than as the mysterious Michael Rimmer, arriving unannounced at the Fairburn advertising agency one day and proceeding to take over the company, moving seamlessly into politics and a position of ultimate power with such nonchalance that it’s thrilling. With a supporting cast that includes Harold Pinter, Denholm Elliot, Ronnie Corbett and Arthur Lowe, the film has serious comic pedigree. But it’s as a steely-eyed blueprint for spin doctoring that it really succeeds, predicting the speak-your-brains of text participation that now passes for public discourse and the phoniest of illegitimate wars. Every female role belongs in a Benny Hill sketch but then every character is a caricature. That Rimmer’s career is an alleged spoof of executive producer David Frost only makes it more delicious. Minimal extras.

(Jay Richardson)

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