Rag Tale

The world of newspapers has inspired some of cinema’s best works – from ‘Citizen Kane’ to ‘His Girl Friday’ and ‘Sweet Smell of Success’ – but no such acclaim awaits this hysterical and mostly unsuccessful satire of a British tabloid. It’s sickbags at the ready as a swirling, drunken camera and a relentless, rapid-fire edit conspire to capture a week-in-the-life of ‘The Rag’, a lowbrow paper where the editor, Eddy (Rupert Graves), is bonking his deputy, MJ (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who herself is married to the paper’s Murdoch-a like chairman Richard (Malcolm McDowell). Phew! What a scorcher. ‘Rag Tale’ is best when its impressive cast of hacks (Ian Hart, Simon Callow, Kerry Fox) are shooting the everyday breeze (much of the dialogue is improvised) rather than serving McGuckian’s far-fetched plot, which sees MJ’s ambition and coke habit thwart the work of both her husband and her lover. Familiarity makes for good satire, but ‘Rag Tale’s’ wild story negates most of the good work done here by McGuckian’s cast. Drug abuse, infidelity, incest and suicide? All in a week’s work? Call the libel lawyer…

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday October 7 2005
Duration: 123 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Mary McGuckian
Screenwriter: Mary McGuckian
Cast: Simon Callow
Lucy Davis
Kerry Fox
Rupert Graves
Ian Hart
David Hayman
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Cal MacAninch
Malcolm McDowell
Bill Paterson
John Sessions
Sara Stockbridge
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