The United States and the United Kingdom are currently in the midst of a period of spectacular political turmoil. The British are wrestling with ‘Brexit,’ a new Prime Minister, and an opposition party in utter disarray. Americans, meanwhile, are about to vote in what is surely one of their most bizarre – and potentially historic – Presidential elections ever held. The impact of these choices, selections and developments will undoubtedly last for generations, and will be felt around the world – but, every once in a while, as we are buffeted by each new controversy, it truly feels like we’re stuck in a movie that never ends.
The political manoeuvring that immediately followed the British referendum on the European Union gave rise to House Of Cards style theories, suggesting high profile politicians were attempting to prevent each other from reaching high office. The U.S Presidential race has become somewhat incredible, with a largely incoherent reality TV star posing a very real challenge to the most experienced Presidential candidate ever to run for the Oval Office – who is herself the subject of repeated investigations, due to suspicions of a variety of types of misconduct. While these events may read like the plot line of the latest Hollywood satire, they are in fact reality – influenced by the media, manipulated by the political establishment, and posing a very real threat to global stability.
We liken the current political climate to movies with incredulity – but it’s actually not so far-fetched. There have been a great many entries in the genre of political thriller that, when held up to the chaos of reality, seem alarmingly plausible – this is why the world of politics is such fertile ground for storytelling. It has intrigue, conspiracy, ambition and action all baked right in. Moreover, we can all relate to these tales – because we have all felt the ramifications of actions and decisions taken by faceless government officials in an office somewhere, at some point.
So, while we brace for yet more world-changing political developments in the coming months, let’s revisit five of the best political thrillers ever committed to celluloid.