Uncivil War

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Cummings, who has refused media interviews since the referendum including for this article , agreed to assist on the drama. The movie ends with the referendum result, although that was only the beginning of the real Brexit drama. Even for the seasoned political playwright, writing about the referendum even as the aftermath was unfolding presented a particular challenge.


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Theater was much faster to respond. But theater is a different proposition from television, and it is more able to take risks, Graham said. Graham was born in northern England, and voted in the referendum to remain in the European Union. Around 70 percent of voters in the area where he grew up voted to leave. Television Brexit Is Dividing Britain. So Is a Brexit Movie. While some claimed it was glorifying its dubious protagonists, others complained it was interfering in continuing investigations into the legality of the Leave campaigns.

No doubt some will disagree, but I think it more than justifies itself. Its value, for those who have not had their heads buried in the political news pages over the past two years, is to illuminate the relatively anonymous players who pulled the strings in the torrid campaigning battle. Chief among them is Vote Leave director and mastermind Dominic Cummings , as played by that national acting icon Benedict Cumberbatch.

But, inevitably, as he scrawls out his campaigning brainwaves on a whiteboard, there is a touch of that deductive maverick Sherlock in his portrayal of this scruffy, balding political saboteur. Equally, though, as Graham himself suggested at the press screening, Cummings recalls Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network : a scornful, socially awkward man, driven to disrupt the world but without anything approaching a moral purpose.

Cumberbatch, it has to be said, is completely compelling, his mercurial charisma coloured with misanthropic despair. But, criminal or not, no one could surely come away from this drama seeing such an operation as anything other than a malign new path for our democracy. And yes, cartoons is what they may purport to be in real life, but to continually portray them as such only plays into their hands.

That aside, what Graham has produced is an engrossing second draft of history, one that amid all the continuing mayhem offers some kind of manageable perspective on a raging nation governed by charlatans and manipulated by algorithms. Make that our new national anthem, I say, as the ugliness drones on. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

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