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The Dirty War on the National Health Service

  • Documentary and factual
  • 2019
  • John Pilger
  • 106 mins
  • 12A

Summary

Veteran filmmaker John Pilger takes us through a history of threats to Britain's National Health Service ,from its 1948 founding by Labor through a privatizing push by Margaret Thatcher's bureaucrats, to challenges by new Conservatives.

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Review

A star rating of 3 out of 5.

Opening and closing with the hymn "Jerusalem", The Dirty War on the National Health Service sees Australian documentarian and journalist John Pilger make an impassioned case for Britain's "last bastion of true public service" in a gut-wrenching film he describes as a "warning". The disastrous results of the NHS's privatisation by stealth are laid out through shocking statistics and compelling case studies. We're taken through the history of a beloved institution, politicians across the spectrum are blamed for its dismantling, healthcare professionals speak eloquently and sometimes emotionally in its defence, while sojourns to America give a taste of what may be to come, including extraordinary testimony from insurance company whistle-blowers. Pilger is a constant, typically authoritative, slightly doom-laden presence. The no-frills format means his latest suffers by comparison to Michael Moore's more engaging Sicko; with little to elevate it cinematically, it will perhaps find its natural home on the small screen, where it deserves to reach a wide audience. Most of the information isn't new or particularly revelatory, but, presented as a whole in such a stark and persuasive fashion, it makes for deeply troubling viewing.

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Credits

Cast

rolename
John PilgerJohn Pilger

Crew

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DirectorJohn Pilger

Details

Theatrical distributor
Dartmouth Films
Released on
2019-11-29
Languages
English
Formats
Colour
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