Posted by on January 7, 2019 6:05 pm
Categories: µ Newsjones

In an era besieged by misinformation, it was the duty of the makers of this Cumberbatch referendum drama not to add to the chaos. They did not succeed

The main, motivating thesis of Brexit: The Uncivil War – an unpicking of the Vote Leave campaign’s success in getting Britain to … well, vote to leave the EU – was that nobody got the right information to the right people in the right way, or fully recognised it as their job to make sure this happened. And when that is a drama’s thesis, a heavy duty hangs on the writer, in this case James Graham. It is incumbent upon him, in an era besieged and almost defined by misinformation, not to add to the chaos.

That duty was not clearly fulfilled. Brexit: The Uncivil War focuses on events from the point of view of the Leave campaign director, Dominic Cummings, played by Benedict Cumberbatch with his customary wit, intelligence and energy. You can see why he was catnip to a dramatist otherwise looking out at a sea of grey suits and wondering how to get inside the heads of shapeshifters like Cameron or Gove (as Gertrude Stein famously said of her old home, torn down to make way for something new – “there is no there there”) or persuade viewers that Boris Johnson is real enough to be a protagonist in anything other than the rolling Boris Johnson show that is his life.

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