Voltairian oddysey, road movie, surrealist fantasy, anti-capitalist satire, this world class British film is all of these and of course, more. Helped by 35 years of nostalgia for the way things were before the press decided to become public judges, much of what is lambasted by dir. Anderson here looks familiar because of what we know from the papers and the TV. The general themes here of ruthless ambition, class distinction, plutocracy v poverty, institutionalised corruption and greed, and obviously hypocrisy, are probably better known now to a wiser, more cynical public. Of course Anderson did his bit with this great film to try and make it better known. This bold critique on the wiley old ways of the world looks as relevant now as it did then. The vices pilloried here are still with us, and the themes are still relevant. Of course the depiction here is fantastical but that's what makes this film a great piece of art.
Some elements of the film do look very clanky now, the use of sub-titles and old film clips, for example, and one or two scenes look very much of the day, but this is a clever and rakingly ambitious film, and even satirises film making in one passage. It rounds off his previous satire very well, and perhaps just as importantly now to a nostalgia loving British public, it records some memorable aspects of life before The Age of PC, and has some damn fine actors in their prime. McDowell is amazing once again, perfect for the role, with his everyman looks and personalty, and the ever gorgeous Helen Mirren is stunningly sexy and youthful looking here. Add the decent, very English score from The Alan Price Set and what you have is an enduring masterpiece of real old fashioned film making. Magnif!