Patrick Hale (Sean Connery) is one of the world's most respected television news journalists and there's practically nobody he cannot get close to for an interview. Tonight is his presentation on a new form of therapy, where members of the public work out their frustrations by pretending to kill people or commit crimes; killing parents is a popular choice, and the facsimile of such an experience can be just as satisfying as the real thing, if nowhere near as illegal. But who do the great and the good go to if they want to kill someone? Hale is on the trail of the ruler of the Middle Eastern ruler of Hagreb, King Awad (Ron Moody), but there's a conspiracy being hatched - an explosive one...
The funny thing about this gleefully odd satire is that it probably seems more relevant for the early twenty-first century than it does for the early nineteen-eighties when it was made. The tone is established in the introduction as Connery explains to us about the prevalence of spy satellites tracking everyone's moves then sounds as if he's going insane as he begins ranting about the double standards of world politics. Director Richard Brooks adapted the novel by Charles McCarry, an interesting chap in the movie business who worked as a C.I.A. agent before turning to writing novels and script doctoring for Hollywood.
It's this intelligence, both in cleverness and knowing of which he speaks when it comes to the secret services, that carries the film through an unavoidably bumpy ride. One minute we're supposed to be laughing along with the absurdities that the authorities have to tangle themselves in knots about, the next minute journalist Katharine Ross is reduced to a burning husk by a terrorist attack - not so funny. Neither is the preponderance of suicide bombers in the story, called "human bombs" here and shown in surprising detail as their explosives are set off. Through it all there's Hale, with Connery at his most sharp-witted, camera never far from his side, making contact with an Osama Bin Laden-alike terrorist leader called Rafeeq (Henry Silva) or the President of the United States (George Grizzard) as if there was little distinction between these two.
The plot hinges around two suitcases which Ross's character suspects contain nucelar weapons, both being sold to the highest bidder by shadowy figure Unger (Hardy Krüger). And it's Rafeeq who wants them above all, with the C.I.A. trying to stop him which leads to the supposed suicide, but actual assassination, of King Awad. The President is forced to admit he gave the order for the killing for the good of national security, not to mention the safekeeping of the oil wells, even though Hale finds out that the King was dead before the order, mainly because of the booby trapped camera Hale unwittingly gave him as a gift. Details like that simply sit there in the film, as if to say "Those crazy guys!", and by the end, which features an attempted terrorist attack on the World Trade Center that gives the government the excuse it needs to go to war in the Middle East, you don't know where the prophecy ends and the fiction begins. There's even a Condoleezza Rice-style Vice President (Rosalind Cash). It may be haphazardly put together like a muddle of a T.V. movie, but Wrong is Right exerts a strange hold and has a curious, if minor place in movie history. Music by Artie Kane.