With the 'shockumentary' TAKING LIBERTIES, director Chris Atkins puts Tony Blair's New Labour government firmly in his crosshairs and takes aim. Reviled over his handling of the 'War on Terror' and special relationship with U.S. President George W Bush, Blair's image took a very public battering from which it never fully recovered. Accused of everything from destroying civil liberties to using the media to create a climate of fear, Britain's former PM became the perfect scapegoat for frustrated liberals with an axe to grind and no real sense of the wider issues that influenced his policy-making. But just as 'Bush-bashing' has swept America, so too has 'Blair-baiting' become a fashionable pastime among the U.K. left. Much like Michael Moore sought to undermine the U.S. administration and make a fool out of the president with FARENHEIT 9/11, Atkins has constructed a similarly glib argument using a proven method of intercutting previously unseen footage with commentary from various talking heads--politicians, celebrities, human rights organisations, academics, and lawyers--and set it to the requisite pumping soundtrack (to attract the young vote). He also draws on isolated incidents of public injustice to strengthen his case, such as the teenage sisters who were detained for 36 hours for a peaceful protest. Taken out of context, these episodes form a persuasive argument, not to mention an alarming portrait of the British justice system. While TAKING LIBERTIES might be seen by some as pandering to public opinion, its heart is certainly in the right place, and if nothing else, it serves as a lesson in documentary filmmaking.
Release Date: 08 October 2007
Certificate: 15 - Suitable for Persons Aged 15 or Over
Sound: Dolby Digital
Production Year: 2007
Main Language: English
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