Influence

Before you see this documentary, do a little homework otherwise, like me your interest will be peaked, but you will be overwhelmed. This film seems to be the real life version of “Wag the Dog”.

Lord Timothy Bell is the primary subject. He was the founder of the reputation management firm Bell Pottinger, which came apart in 2017. He began his career as a partner in Saatchi and Saatchi where he met and befriended Margaret Thatcher. With her he learned about power, influence and the strength of advertising/marketing in the political realm. From there it was a fast track to political interference which eventually backfired. This includes trying to be a persuasive force in Iraq (which backfired), Chile, and South Africa where he had a hand in trying to distract South African’s from the corruption of Jacob Zuma’s government by inciting racial tensions.

Leaked to the film makers were over 200,000 emails that linked Bell and his firm to the racial divide in South Africa. This leak led to his demise. Like most documentaries these days, this one discusses the weaponization of social media leaving you to wonder who/what you can trust. It’s disgusting. Information warfare.

Cinematography is terrific, music works well, a little long but worth the watch. Date night worthy with discussion!