Blu-ray Disc Review: The Special Relationship

Movie •••½ Picture •••• Sound •••• Extras ½

The titular relationship is that between the U.S. and the U.K., and it also refers to the working rapport of their leaders. In this lightweight but appealing HBO movie, screenwriter Peter Morgan (The Deal, The Queen) looks at the association between President Bill Clinton (Dennis Quaid) and newly appointed Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen). Morgan works from historical records, but as in The Queen he takes some creative license with the more private dialogue, which also involves the leaders’ wives, Hillary (Hope Davis) and Cherie (Helen McCrory). As before, these bon mots seem correct and are entirely believable. In his third role as Blair, Sheen is very comfortable with the character, and Quaid is impressive as Clinton. But it’s perhaps Davis who impresses most with her strong performance as Hillary Clinton, particularly in her reaction to the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

The 16:9 picture and Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on this DVD-only release are what you’d expect from an A-level TV production, looking and sounding splendid. But the brief single extra is an embarrassment, merely an ad for what you’ve just seen. Ready for another relationship? Sheen could go on to make a movie about Blair and George W. Bush; the ending of this movie hints at a sequel.