The Special Relationship

Rated 3.0

Michael Sheen has built his career playing ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair, even though the two men don’t share much physical resemblance beyond a generalized British tweediness. Richard Loncraine’s The Special Relationship is Sheen’s third portrayal of Blair, but his version of Blair isn’t much different than his takes on David Frost and Brian Clough. The Special Relationship is the last in writer Peter Morgan’s unofficial Blair trilogy (following the TV movie The Deal and the Oscar-winning The Queen), and it concerns the evolving master-protégé relationship between Blair and Bill Clinton (Dennis Quaid), culminating in their divergent approaches to the Kosovo crisis. Quaid is surprisingly good as Clinton, and Hope Davis makes for a perfectly iron-pressed Hillary, but the film is so self-satisfied with its sound-bite take on recent history, you feel like it’s having a “special relationship” with itself.