Ben Oliver

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Barbarians at the Gate

We’re not talkin’ fuck you money. We’re talkin’ fuck EVERYBODY’S money.
11 August 2017

The story behind the leveraged buyout of US tobacco company RJR Nabisco in 1988. James Garner plays F. Ross Johnson, the CEO of the corporation who fronts a bid to buy the company and Jonathan Pryce plays Henry Kravis, a businessman who forms a rival bid. The price war quickly escalates and the affair becomes the focus of a lot of media attention.

This is a potentially stuffy and dull tale told in a funny and accessible way. Fans of The Big Short will be on familiar turf, although this isn’t quite as flash. The two leads are solid though - James Garner’s rural-kid-come-good is the perfect counterpoint to Pryce’s uptight businessman.

Barbarians at the Gate is surprisingly good for what is a bargain bucket TV movie about a company buyout. Worth a look, especially for those interested the mechanics of business.