One morning a well-dressed young man appears at a leading polling company. He’s charismatic and (more importantly) carrying a clipboard, so no one dares to challenge him. In no time at all the titular Rimmer (Peter Cook) has taken control of the company, and Great Britain is next on his hit list.
After stepping on and over countless people on his way to the top of the Tory party, the mesmerising leader creates a government controlled entirely by the people, with each decision – no matter how small – being the subject of a national vote. With a hundred daily referendums the public soon become tired of having their say on everything, so when Rimmer offers them a way of life where they don’t have to decide on anything at all, it seems only natural for them to take it. Hail President Rimmer.
Although each cast member (including the likes of John Cleese, Harold Pinter and Arthur Lowe) is flawless, Peter Cook is on another level entirely. His disarming charm and penetrating gaze are tailor-made for the role of Rimmer, and his performance here tops anything else he committed to film, including Bedazzled. Funny, yet cold and cynical, with an absolutely brilliant soundtrack, The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer is one of the best DVD releases this year.
Surely little more than a satire when it was first released in 1970, today the film has a slightly sinister undercurrent. Replace the key figures with our own political and media heavyweights and is it so far fetched? Thank God Alistair Campbell is now well away from having government influence, the resurrection of this film would certainly give him ideas.
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