There's no shortage of trenchant political satire in this film starring Ralph Fiennes and Donald Sutherland, written and directed by Robert Edwards. The story is set in an alternate reality amalgam of Great Britain and the U.S.A., where film and TV celebrities run the government and Max (Tom Hollander), the leader of the "free" world, is a sado-masochistic freak who spends the nation's money on gaudy action movies. Outside the palace walls, the nation is being overrun by violent rebels while their idealistic leader, Thorne (Sutherland), resides in jail, quoting William Butler Yeats and being regularly tortured. Fiennes plays Joe, a sympathetic prison guard who gradually adopts Thorne's views and joins a plot to assassinate Max. But then when the revolution succeeds, Joe finds a whole new nightmare awaiting him. Edwards plunders the history books for this jet black allegory, with references everything from Mussolini's Italy, Stalin's Russia, and Cambodia's Khymer Rouge all the way up to President Bush, and North Korea's Kim Jong III. In its cockeyed way the film resembles a more violent and disturbing version of the Marx Brothers' DUCK SOUP crossed with Terry Gilliam's BRAZIL. There are costumes from all different historical periods, hyper-gaudy architecture, semiotic brainwashing reminiscent of Orwell's 1984 and some extraneous bathroom humor. Tom Hollander steals most of his scenes as the Caligula-esque Max; Lara Flynn Boyle is also in fine scenery chewing form as his Imelda Marcos meets Evita Peron-style wife.