Brexit: The Uncivil War is a witty and compelling behind-the-scenes exploration of one of the biggest political earthquakes of recent times.
This thrilling film follows the Brexit campaign from the perspective of the largely unknown strategists in both the leave and remain camps as they plot to gain advantage over each other through media and social media activities, while having to deal with the more public role played by politicians jostling for the limelight and each side’s controversial financial backers.
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Dominic Cummings, the divisive architect of Vote Leave’s strategy and tactics. His insistence that the Leave campaign’s electioneering should be data-driven, rather than relying on traditional campaigning involving grassroots politicians quickly brings him into conflict with his political backers but ultimately secures success. Meanwhile his messaging – from coming up with the central slogan “Take Back Control” as well as the red bus featuring the now infamous £350 million promise – also cuts through with the voters.
Rory Kinnear co-stars as Craig Oliver, David Cameron’s communications director, who is drafted in to run the Remain campaign and pull together its disparate Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat supporters. Basing his tactics on his successful Scottish Referendum and General Election campaigns – using the traditional media, set-piece events, focus groups and politicians talking about the economic effects of leaving the EU, Oliver is soon under pressure to work out why his messaging isn’t having the same effect on the electorate – and polls – as Cummings.
Alongside the lead strategists and their teams, Brexit: The Uncivil War , features a cast of more familiar individuals – including Boris Johnson and Michael Gove to Nigel Farage – and some lesser known characters such as Zack Massingham, the Canadian co-founder of data firm Aggregate IQ who worked to impact on the referendum, and businessman Arron Banks, the largest donor to the Leave campaign.
At a time when explosive revelations about the mining of personal data and the corrosive effect of fake news and micro-targeted advertising through social media feeds are at the forefront of the news agenda, Brexit: The Uncivil War is an enlightening, eye-opening exploration of how modern data-driven campaigning techniques contributed to one of the most unexpected, highly-charged and controversial decisions in modern political history.
Brexit: The Uncivil War will air on Channel 4 Monday 7th January at 9pm