How to Get Ahead in Advertising

UK 1989
Director : Bruce Robinson
Cast : Richard E. Grant, Rachel Ward, Richard Wilson

90 Min. | OV | Originalversion


A copywriter on the edge of a nervous breakdown. When Dennis Dimbleby Bagley is tasked with developing a campaign for an acne creme, his life spins out of control. Nothing will come to mind, but instead he realizes for the first time the destructive foolishness of a world centered around consumerism. At the same time, the former cynic, whom Richard E. Grant will later turn into the amped-up snob Withnail, develops a pimple on his shoulder that grows into a second head – an outgrowth of Bagley’s scrupulous persona that abhors defeat. The melancholy wit of his debut turns to grotesque humor in Bruce Robinson’s second film as a director. His reaction to the shameless glorification of 80s greed by the likes of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher is an equally obscene barrage of jokes. A holy anger fills Bagley, who has turned from Saul to Paul. In a grand orgy of destruction, he tries to rid his life of the falsehoods of the advertising industry. A task at which he is doomed to fail. Today, nearly 30 years later, it is obvious where the developments that Robinson warned us of, have led. We are consuming ourselves to death.