blair's war
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press reaction

Orlando Sentinel Hal Boedeker

"Blair's War ... is different from the live, urgent dispatches on cable news channels. The hour documentary examines British Prime Minister Tony Blair's strong bond with President Bush and the United States' rift with other European countries.

"As war rages, these aren't the hottest topics, but the passage of time allows Blair's War to provide the context that's missing from many reports. ... Viewers longing for a big-picture take on the Iraq crisis will find it in Blair's War."

The New York Times Alessandra Stanley

"'Blair's War' ... is a mournful, valedictory look back at the day diplomacy died. It also provides some voyeuristic thrills. The breach between Europe and the United States that Britain's prime minister, Tony Blair, struggled to mend is presented a little like the breakup of a rock band on a VH1 'Behind the Music' expose. The principals are not interviewed, but the recollection of roadies and friends are interwoven with clips and a foreboding musical score to illustrate the path to total dysfunction. ...

"The British prime minister is not really the focus of 'Blair's War.' ... [T]he title 'Blair's War' is a misnomer for a documentary that dwells more intently on French pique and the battle for Bush's mind in Washington. ...

"The documentary ... highlights Mr. Blair's empathy and eloquence when he visited the United States immediately after Sept. 11, 2001. ... His eloquence and passion are contrasted, rather wickedly, with a more perfunctory message of condolence from the French president, Jacques Chirac. ...

"And by showcasing the earliest tonal distinctions, the creators of 'Blair's War' lay the foundation for the dramatic collision that Mr. Blair refused to view as inevitable. ...

"The one element missing, however, is how Mr. Blair reacted when all his efforts to keep the Atlantic alliance together collapsed. None of the aides or journalists interviewed shed any light on Mr. Blair's personal sense of frustration with a rift that could prove damaging to far more than his own political future."

Hartford Courant Roger Catlin

"... Amid the minute-to-minute war coverage on news channels, this report is a welcome, more global perspective on the implications of war. Still, it falls a bit short of 'Frontline' standards by failing to interview many of the primary figures involved. A majority of interviewees turn out to be journalists.

"Still, the laudable series has managed to retain its hold on Thursday night. ... "

The Globe and Mail Andrew Ryan

"The rather timely documentary Blair's War ... at least offers some respite from the dust and destruction on the news channels.

"The recently assembled documentary takes sharp aim at British Prime Minister Tony Blair. ...

"The program pays particular attention to the world events of the past few months and Blair's tireless attempts to repair the divide between the U.S. and several of its longtime European allies, especially France. ...

"As with most Frontline programs, the research is exhaustive and compelling. It's a top-notch documentary, torn from today's headlines."



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posted april 3, 2003

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