Review: Scandal

An 80s Brit flick that managed to avoid most of the pitfalls of the day (sledge hammer direction, thin scripts, Patsy Kensit...), Michael Caton-Jones' layered take on political scandal remains resonant.

The affair between married Defense Minister John Profumo and 'model' Christine Keeler would ultimately bring down Harold Macmillan's Conservative government and thrust Britain headlong into the 'swinging' sixties but Scandal explores more than establishment hypocrisy and changing mores. Its heart is the strangely tender relationship between Stephen Ward (John Hurt), the osteopath who played pimp to the upper crust, and Keeler (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer).

Hurt is superb, his face a roadmap of betrayed naivety, while Kilmer's doe-eyed insouciance was never put to better use.

"Lick your lips, little baby," says Ward as he proudly leads his muse into her first orgy and the beginning of everyone's downfall.

© 2020 by Aubrey Day.