tue 15/10/2019

DVD: The Killing$ of Tony Blair | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: The Killing$ of Tony Blair

DVD: The Killing$ of Tony Blair

A reputation's tatters are shredded in convincing detail

Hands across the water: PM and President cut a deal

Much like Margaret Thatcher’s tearful tumble from Downing Street, the haggard, hoarse Tony Blair who materialised after Chilcot must have given even his enemies pause. The glib, youthful Nineties spin-master now recalled Scrooge’s reproachful future ghost, a man mutely begging to be shriven. The last person he’d choose for such confession, though, would surely be George Galloway, whose presence as presenter may handicap this film’s reception. If any politician is even more toxic than Blair, it’s Gorgeous George. Still, this crowd-funded documentary is a lively, well-researched investigation of a life of growing greed and moral blindness.

Galloway can’t resist grandstanding on-screen, and he’s helped assemble a motley list of interviewees, from recently rehabilitated Tory minister David Davis to Noam Chomsky. Footage of Nelson Mandela blaming Britain’s Prime Minister for his part in “plunging the world into a holocaust” with Iraq’s invasion is, though, a witness it’s hard to shake off. The mood music to equally rare footage in Britain of victims of the bone-eating white phosphorus and depleted uranium spread by that war is clumsy. The images alone strip away the childish boasts of “shock and awe”.

The killing the film is most fascinated by is, however, financial. The intensifying corruption of “revolving door” politics in Britain, where future corporate employment influences policy, is laid at Blair’s door. Finally, we see him in the last decade, bestriding the world stage as Middle East peace envoy. “It does have the flavour,” journalist Matthew Norman suggests, “of a satirical gesture.” The biggest blot on his post-Iraq reputation is his highly-paid PR work for Kazakh dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev, a final fall from the brief grace of Labour’s “moral” foreign policy. Nazarbayev is, Blair reassured us, a strong man, “prepared to take the measures that are necessary in the modern world”. He could be describing himself in New Labour. What Rosebud did he lose along the way to such a pass?

Mandela blaming Blair for 'plunging the world into a holocaust' is hard to shake off


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

Advertising feature


A compulsive, involving, emotionally stirring evening – theatre’s answer to a page-turner.
The Observer, Kate Kellaway


Direct from a sold-out season at Kiln Theatre the five star, hit play, The Son, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.



This final part of Florian Zeller’s trilogy is the most powerful of all.
The Times, Ann Treneman


Written by the internationally acclaimed Florian Zeller (The Father, The Mother), lauded by The Guardian as ‘the most exciting playwright of our time’, The Son is directed by the award-winning Michael Longhurst.


Book by 30 September and get tickets from £15*
with no booking fee.