4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Own a media legend today..., 9 July 2003
It's fair to say the only slight ray of sunshine in an otherwise very serious period of war and tragedy this year was the eternally (and quite worryingly) optimistic Iraqi Information Minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf. His endless stream of threats (my feelings, as usual, we will slaughter them all'), denials ('they are not even 100 miles from Baghdad, they are not in any place, this is an illusion') and insults ('they are a superpower of Al Capone') was just begging to be portrayed and kept for posterity somehow...but just butting all those quotes together, no matter how funny and eccentric they are, would get boring pretty quickly.
So thank goodness I bought this, hoping it would have a bit of a story behind it, and it did; in fact, it's a very slickly put-together documentary that has just the right blend of Big Mo and other archive footage, taken naturally from the war just passed but also his earlier guise as Foreign Minister...these clips are even more hysterical because he is so deadpan, resplendent in his suit back then, but still delivering his now infamous rants about 'those villains'. And what's more we get plenty of interesting interviews and opinions from journalists, authors etc., some of whom really do feel sorry for him. The balance in the views on offer from 'he shuld be in jail' to 'he was trapped, he had a gun to his head' works very well and lets us make up our own minds.
But special mention has to go to the sections on Saddam Hussein (his musical tribute from Iraqi TV is priceless) and his attacks on Bush and Blair: 'this stooge...I think the British nation has never been faced with a tragedy like this fellow!' You can't help siding with him a little/a lot when you watch it!! And his final performance on the roof of the Palestine Hotel is shown in all its glory complete with some behind the scenes panic as he first appears to everyone's shock/delight. When he says 'don't be frightened, we are going to tackle them and destroy them' to a nodding but obviously bemused journalist, Sahaf looks like he almost can't contain himself and he is undoubtedly lapping up all the world's press hanging on his every word. I'm glad they saved all this classic footage of him til the end, with one or two little teasers on the way...it's an apt finale to Sideshow/Baghdad Bob's performance. Encore!
To sum up, don't believe the hype, this isn't at all tasteless or crude, it's a very absorbing account of how the media built up the legend of Comical Ali and then had to face up to what it had created. Everything right down to the atmospheric music and desert backdrops for the titles shows that the BBC (tongue in cheek) have really worked to make a polished, complete video. Luckily we now know the man is relatively safe and well so we don't need to feel guilty about finding humour in the situation....as one pundit suggests, maybe he was just having a laugh with the media because what else could he do?! Whatever, we're very glad you did it, Mohammed, and we look forward to seeing you on Letterman some time soon...hey, nothing this guy does should ever surprise you!!