1. In the Name of the Father (1993) tells the story of the wrongfully accused Guildford Four--four innocent Irishmen and women convicted for IRA bombings in England. In a move that feels similar to post-9/11 US terrorist investigations, Britain passed laws in the 1970s to detain terrorists for a week without any formal charges. In the film we see how harsh interrogations lead to desperate accusations and false admission of guilt. Based on real events, it's chilling to see how a desperate government would quickly accuse and punish innocent people because of popular pressure. Cutting down rights doesn't necessarily bring safety, as proved by this case.
Cinematic side note: The script allows Daniel Day-Lewis to make this a great coming-of-age story as well as political drama as we see his character grow up in prison with his father as a cell mate. Great acting all around.
2. Wag the Dog (1997) is a political comedy that's funny because it's true. A small group invents a war between the United States and Albania to distract from a presidential sex scandal close to reelection. Everything from war footage, inspirational songs, and an improvised war hero help to create the perfect fake war. While this was eerily predictive of the 1998 Clinton sex scandal, the paranoia still exists that people only know what the media tells them and that the media can be manipulated. Considering the proliferation of media in the last decade, I can only imagine how much more a situation like this would consume America before anyone caught on. Who could tell if it hasn't happened already.
Cinematic side note: Everyone ever is in this movie. Robert DeNiro is surprisingly subtle and funny, and Dustin Hoffman gives one of his first performances as the go-to crazy guy. Anne Heche is relatable and fun as she is forced to go along with every scheme to protect the President's image.