I was put off by the hostile response this received from many British (and American) critics when it first came out and so did not see it in a theater. Now, in 2010, I managed to find it by chance on cable. It very much reflects many of the conflicts of the Seventies and the Eighties and deals with them with a blunt satirical hammer, not a rapier nor a scalpel. There is an underlying contempt for man and all his follies at work in the storyline and I think that when this film was released many "right-thinking" people were disturbed and distressed by it.
I enjoyed it. I did not find it as profound as I suspect its makers imagined it to be, but I rather enjoyed its mean-spirited take on anybody and everybody. And the final quotation from Shakespeare, following all that has gone before, is devastating and brilliant.