Mandelson: The Real PM?
September 12, 2011
The politically notorious Peter Mandelson is known as the Prince of Darkness, and former party leader Neil Kinnock once claimed that those who called Mandelson ‘Labour’s evil genius’ were only half right. So, who is the real man beneath the Machiavellian machinations?
Filmmaker Hannah Rothschild was given access to many of the areas of Mandelson’s life from October 2009, as he shadowed the then Business Secretary and First Secretary of State through to June 2010, following Labour’s election failure. A candid portrait it might be, although it’s not entirely warts and all. There is a real sense that the subject at the heart of the film remained very much in control of the manner in which he is portrayed.
Interviews are conducted on train journeys or at the close of an exhausting, hectic day, yet it is the scenes of the infamous anti-hero at work that prove to be revealing. Following two well documented and spectacular falls from Governmental grace, this disarmingly sincere raconteur has to be admired, even if begrudgingly, for the influence and power he continued to wield in the wake of adverse publicity and temporary losses of credibility.
This film is especially fascinating due to the tumultuous period of political history during which it was shot. For anyone with an interest in current affairs and the power play with which the political game is won or lost, it makes for compelling viewing.
An array of extra features provide further insights into one of Labour’s most formidable Spin Doctors. They skim beneath the surface of a man who not only worked tirelessly in politics, but directly influenced the way in which modern politics evolved. These include an extended ending to the film, Peter’s thoughts on the media as an ‘occupational hazard’ and a segment of unseen footage which is simply entitled ‘Tory Bashing’.