HBO’s Brexit Trailer: Benedict Cumberbatch Hacks The Political System

Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings in Brexit

HBO is set to examine the makings of the referendum known as Brexit, in a new feature length film that shares its title with that particular portmanteau. The upcoming film aims to look at how the Brexit campaign managed to win and just what lengths those behind it were willing to go in order to secure a victory. In doing so, the new film sets its sights on Dominic Cummings, the British political adviser and strategist who was behind the Vote Leave campaign. And in the new trailer, the film, as well as star Benedict Cumberbatch, makes him out to be something of an evil genius. 

As you watch the trailer, there’s a hint of J.C. Chandor’s 2011 film Margin Call, which offered peek into the 2008 financial crisis, as well as Adam McKay’s Academy Award winning film The Big Short. Both films took a somewhat didactic approach to their narratives, but to wildly different degrees of success. From the look of things, Brexit will split the difference somewhat, but it mostly seems to be aiming for something along the lines of Chandor’s film. While that may be something of a paint-by-numbers approach to the story at hand, it can’t be said that explainers aren’t incredibly (perhaps distressingly) popular. 

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Nevertheless, Brexit still looks as though it will be an entertaining watch. One reason for that is Cumberbatch seems to be having a lot of fun underneath that bald cap and puffy vest. Throw in an appearance by Rory Kinnear and you have an HBO film that can compete with the premium cabler’s other ripped-from-the-headlines films, The Wizard of Lies and Paterno. Check out the trailer and read a synopsis below: 

“The result of the Brexit referendum in summer 2016 caused a political earthquake that laid waste to the normally stable British establishment and sent political tremors around the world. Cumberbatch portrays Dominic Cummings, who spearheaded the Vote Leave campaign. Rory Kinnear plays Craig Oliver, Prime Minister David Cameron’s director of communications and head of the Remain campaign.

This provocative feature-length drama goes behind the scenes, revealing the personalities, strategies and feuds of the Leave and Remain campaigns. The tactics employed by Vote Leave during the data-driven campaign swayed a historically silent voting bloc that would ultimately decide the outcome of the referendum, as well as affecting future elections around the world.

BREXIT is directed by Toby Haynes; written by James Graham; executive producers, James Graham, Juliette Howell, Tessa Ross; produced by Lynn Horsford."

Cumberbatch has a history of appearing in middling films that draw from real life, such as The Fifth Estate, The Imitation Game, and The Current War. Though there’s no telling yet where Brexit will ultimately land, those eager to find out won’t have long to wait. 

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Brexit premieres Saturday, January 19, 2019 on HBO.

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