It is a film that should have everything. In Jeremy Clarkson, we have the maverick who refuses to play by the rules. He represents those who want to break away from all the bullshit that typifies this era of political correctness. His refusal to care about ethnic slurs, Indian and Mexican culture, war, strikers, lorry drivers and the disabled, harks back to the wonderful carefree days of the 19th Century.
But what makes ‘The Last Fracas’ such an interesting film is the baddie, Oisin Tymon. We’re still not sure if he exists, with very few photos of him available. In fact, halfway through, I found myself hypothesizing that he is like the Emperor in Star Wars in that he will one day appear in a sequel. Just now, Lord Hall, the man who cruelly sacked Clarkson, takes on the Darth Vader role: he is responsible for everything bad and evil.
True, this is not the most original piece of work. The way it turned the media into braying jackals is obviously copying Gone Girl. Nevertheless, there is a genius piece of satire when a Guardian writer argued for ‘An Eco-Feminist version of Top Gear’ to replace it. Paraphrasing Tropic Thunder, “Never go full Guardian.”
Also lacking in originality is what sets off the film’s set-piece moment. Who still fights over food nowadays? This isn’t Oliver Twist! I would have found it far more satisfying if the argument had been about cars:
‘What do you mean you’d prefer the diesel version?’
‘So you took the train because you care about the environment huh?’
‘Did I just see you drive a Prius?’
Any of these could really have added to Clarkson’s shtick as a no nonsense man of the people.
But what really stretched me was the tank scene. I understand that they wanted more action. Possibly, it was the studio executives who demanded this, but I just didn’t believe it for one second. Nobody in their right mind would ever hire a tank to deliver a petition to the BBC. It simply would not happen in real life.
Yet to dwell on the negatives would be a disservice to this rather charming satire of the British people. The way it portrays the public on the day after the food fight is very clever. Despite nobody having any idea what had occurred, people either wanted him sacked or knighted with a full apology. It takes a very brave filmmaker to mock both the left and right in such brutal fashion. This is definitely an early candidate for film of the year.