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Wag the Dog
(1997)
Album Cover Art
Composed, Performed, and Co-Produced by:
Mark Knopfler

Co-Produced by:
Chuck Ainlay
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LABEL & RELEASE DATE
Mercury Records
(January 13th, 1998)
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ALBUM AVAILABILITY
Regular U.S. release. Because of its short length, it is about $3 cheaper than a regularly priced CD.
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AWARDS
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   Availability | Viewer Ratings | Comments | Audio & Track Listings | Notes
Buy it... only if you're a fan of Mark Knopfler's standard, extremely easy-going guitar performances and don't care about the other music in the film.

Avoid it... if you, like most people, are seeking any of the witty and clever Willie Nelson songs performed in the film itself.
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EDITORIAL REVIEW
FILMTRACKS TRAFFIC RANK: #536
WRITTEN 1/19/98, REVISED 4/5/07
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Knopfler
Knopfler
Wag the Dog: (Mark Knopfler) One of Barry Levinson's lesser known but hysterically funny films was Wag the Dog, a witty 1997 satire about the frighteningly blurred line between politics and Hollywood. During a presidential reelection campaign, an incumbent American president is hit with a sex scandal, and so, as you might expect, the White House hires the world's best spin doctor to save the campaign. That concept in and of itself isn't outrageous, but in the role of that spin doctor, Robert De Niro takes it to the next level. He engineers a fake war between the United States and the obscure country of Albania in order to change the focus of the American people. While no military action is actually being taken, Hollywood is employed to stage the war for television, which, as we all know about American politics, is all that matters in a campaign. The devilishly conceived plot is obviously exaggerated for the purposes of black comedy, but the basic premise of the film is surprisingly poignant. One important aspect of any political campaign, of course, is music; anybody who witnessed a campaign stop by Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley in 2000 is still trying to figure out why he used "Mambo #5" as a theme song. In Wag the Dog, part of the Hollywood machine engaged by Dustin Hoffman's crew makes use of a drugged up Nashville singer played by --no shocker here-- Willie Nelson, and Willie's wholesome-sounding songs of unity are just the thing for a political campaign. While the songs steal the show in Wag the Dog, mostly due to their lengthy screen time and Nelson's uncanny ability to whip up a song to answer any political need, there is a short but distinct role for Mark Knopfler's original score. The more you think about it, the more you realize that Knopfler, whose solo music for the album "The Golden Heart" was a Levinson temp track in the film, was an intriguing choice for Wag the Dog. Instead of returning to Hans Zimmer's associates for the genuine heartland guitar music, why not turn to the (ironically British) Knopfler, whose folk and country-laced music is about as saturated in lazy Americana as a ballpark hotdog is in ketchup and mustard.



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VIEWER RATINGS
911 TOTAL VOTES
Average: 2.54 Stars
***** 183 5 Stars
**** 104 4 Stars
*** 107 3 Stars
** 150 2 Stars
* 367 1 Stars
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Track Listings Icon
TRACK LISTINGS AND AUDIO
Audio Samples   ▼
Total Time: 24:13
• 1. Wag the Dog - performed by Mark Knopfler (4:44)
• 2. Working on It (3:27)
• 3. In the Heartland (2:45)
• 4. An American Hero (2:04)
• 5. Just Instinct (1:36)
• 6. Stretching Out (4:17)
• 7. Drooling National (1:53)
• 8. We're Going to War (3:23)
(track times not listed on packaging)

Notes Icon
NOTES AND QUOTES
Lyrics for the title song and a list of participating band members are included on the insert notes.
Copyright © 1998-2017, Filmtracks Publications. All rights reserved.
The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. All artwork and sound clips from Wag the Dog are Copyright © 1998, Mercury Records and cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 1/19/98 and last updated 4/5/07.
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