William Goldman

With the passing consolations of a royal wedding and a triumph at cricket, England endures a turbulent summer, as riots sweep through the cities, newspapers fulminate, and politicians pontificate. Yes, 1981 seems almost like yesterday—which makes it eerier that history should repeat itself just 30 years on. And repeat is the word. Four nights which saw a wave of looting and pillaging have been followed by two weeks in which the country has been swept by another wave, of blather and bluster driven by hot air. This tsunami of pontification has been as predictable as it was pointless.

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Once upon a time—in the era of Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men (1957), say—Robert Redford’s The Conspirator could have been the kind of movie that liberal high-school teachers expected their students to see. It’s good for you.

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