The Comic Strip Presents… The Hunt for Tony Blair

Similar to when I sat down to watch The Strike, I really had no idea what I was getting myself in for with The Hunt for Tony Blair, outside of the fact I know I like Comic Strip Presents material in a broad sort of sense, and it had a funny name that promised much and I really hoped it would deliver on it.

In the end, yes it did. But perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The first thing you notice about this film is that it’s black and white, done in a real film noir sort of style. Basically, Blair (Stephen Mangan), is accused of murder and goes on the run across a foggy, super atmospheric London, resulting in even more deaths. What makes the film – which weighs in around 50m or so – quite funny is that it’s narrated by ‘Blair’ in a style highly reminiscent of how the real Tony Blair speaks and writes about himself. The writers have his style down so well and Mangan delivers the lines beautifully.

To say more would actually spoil some of the fun. There’s a Sunset Boulevard parody at one point, for example, but to tell you who’s in the Norma Desmond role, and how it plays out, would totally undercut anyone seeing it for the first time. This does raise the issue that to get the most out of this, I really do think you need to have some grounding in both the Blair years of UK politics, as well as film noir, and 1950s films in general. Sure, it would be possible to watch it without any knowledge and take away something, but it’s far funnier if you get all – or at least most – of the references being made.

So a short take on the film here. But I think that’s all that really needs to be said. A black and white film that goes for less than an hour, best watched by people who understand the Blair era. To say more, like I say, would spoil the effect, and many of the gags. Is it re-watchable? Possibly. Maybe another 5-10 years down the line for me before I’d be too interested unless, of course, I had a political junkie friend over for drinks and I put it on for a laugh and to see their reactions. That sort of thing is always fun!

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