Ian McEwan must have whooped for joy when the Falklands war erupted, transforming his script from an examination of the Suez affair into a much spicier story of shabby English values, set during the Falklands crisis but filtered through the perspective of Suez. Sadly, the resulting film veers wildly in quality, and fails to cast much illumination on either past or present. Pryce turns in a creepingly accurate performance as an ambitious BBC newsroom hack who is commissioned to write a book on Suez while the Falklands war is in progress; but much of the film is concerned with his pursuit of a rich bitch (Dore), whom he fancies precisely because she is (literally) out of his class. It all culminates neatly, but with typically facile signposting of its political analysis, at the 1982 Conservative Party Conference, with the old guard (for which read resurgent Tory traditionalism) triumphing over the middle class upstart (opportunistic liberalism). It's all far too literary for its own good (McEwan indulges himself by including portraits of his bookish mates), and these aren't people you love to hate, they're just people you hate.
Cast and crew
David de Keyser