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Between Iraq and a Hard Place (2003)

TV Movie  -   -  Comedy | War  -  5 January 2003 (UK)
8.6
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 46 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

Satirical comedy examing the war on Terror.

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Title: Between Iraq and a Hard Place (TV Movie 2003)

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Cast

Cast overview:
Rory Bremner ...
Various
John Bird ...
Himself
...
Himself
Doña Croll ...
...
Iraqi Television Host
Krishnan Guru-Murthy ...
Himself
...
Jon Glover ...
Various Characters (voice)
Mac McDonald ...
Various Characters (voice)
...
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Storyline

The impressionist Rory Bremner and comedians Bird and Fortune take a look at the history of Iraq through a series of sketches, monologues and jokes. They begin with the formation of Iraq by the British in the early 20th Century, through the bombing of villages to control the tribes, the establishment of a king in the area through to the modern day trade meetings with Saddam Hussein. Written by Bob the Moo

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Comedy | War

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5 January 2003 (UK)  »

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Quotes

Rory Bremner: George Tenet the CIA director reckons Al Qaeda exists in 60 countries. George Bush's reaction:
George W. Bush: Let's pick 'em off one at a time.
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User Reviews

Funny but so true and on target that it's appropriate to laugh or cry at the state we're in
9 February 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The impressionist Rory Bremner and comedians Bird and Fortune take a look at the history of Iraq through a series of sketches, monologues and jokes. They begin with the formation of Iraq by the British in the early 20th Century, through the bombing of villages to control the tribes, the establishment of a king in the area through to the modern day trade meetings with Saddam Hussein.

I really enjoy comedy that has teeth so sharp that they gleam. There is so little of it on that you must pounce to get it when you have the chance. Rory Bremner's topical TV spots are must sees because they rarely get repeated simply because the jokes have moved on very quickly. This special was of course very topical and it seemed to have one simple aim - to show just how absurd the whole situation around Iraq is.

To do this they simply present historical fact. They of course have jokes and humour which naturally show events in the light they themselves view them, but basically the essence is a matter of public record. The downside of this is that it isn't as funny as their series (Bremner, Bird & Fortune) can be but it more than makes up for it by being very interesting. I really didn't know whether to laugh or cry at some parts. The jokes are very sharp and barbed and are mainly very funny. The impressions are spot on as always and dialogue incredibly well written --Bremner'' impression of Saddam as bemused by America and Britain constantly changing their minds about him is my favourite (put across in a spoof of This is Your Life!).

The history is fascinating (and all true - the only note to make that where actions are put on the UK and America sometimes other parties were also heavily involved as well). Starting with the creation of Iraq by constant border movements of the Empires and going into British invasions (several) the history highlights how hypocritical we are today. Who were the first people to bomb the Kurds? asks Bremner - the UK sanctioned by Churchill who was then a minister. He also quotes Churchill in a speech to the house supported the use of poison gas on villages to quell the tribes (just like Saddam does). This moves through later invasions and the establishment of a hand-picked King in the 50's through to modern day.

We all know something is up with the oil so the show only mentions it once (by listing all the positions the Bush administration hold with major oil companies), so respect for not focusing on the easy target. It also details how the UK Government sent David Mellor along with Dick Cheney in the early 80's to discuss trade with Saddam while he gases his own people. They also detail how both arms were sold to Iraq and that the West also provided credit for them to do this. Most revealing is the fact that, while Bush et al would have us believe that Saddam and Bin Laden are in the whole terror thing together, they are actually enemies and have fought in the past (Bin Laden offering to go in and remove Saddam from Kuwait in the early 90's - however Bush seems to forget this when he speaks! Like Bremner says, the two are just like (I leave out names for legal reasons) the wife and mistress of a famous football manager - they both hate each other, they just like the same guy.

Overall this isn't as funny as you'd hope simply because the truth is painful even when told as a joke. For much of the show I was gripped by the facts and the jokes alike. Anyone who is aware should watch this. Add to this the many other hypocritical stances taken by US/UK at the moment (why are we ignoring S. Korea? What about some of our allies who have human rights records as bad as Iraq - no war there? Etc) and the whole thing is as sharp as barbed wire but a lot funnier and more interesting.


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