Sunday, October 28, 2007

All the President's Men

All the President's Men; drama / thriller, USA, 1976; D: Alan J. Pakula, S: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jason Robards, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, Hal Holbrook, Jane Alexander, Ned Beatty, Meredith Baxter

On June 17, '72 the police arrested 5 burglars in the Democratic National Committee's office Watergate. The men immediately got lawyers from someone and have ties with the CIA. Journalists Bernstein and Woodward from the Washington Post are very interested in that scandal and think the burglars could have been hired by the Republicans to implant wiretapping device in the Democrats' headquarters. But that's hard to prove since the president, Richard Nixon, is Republican himself and many associates of the politicians don't want to talk to them. Bernstein and Woodward print the story based on indications, but quickly get solid evidence. The story proves to be true and Nixon resigns as the president.

Excellent political drama "All the President's Men", which only die-hard Nixon fans will object to, shines with a very interesting charge of intrigue even though every educated person already in advance knows the outcome of the Watergate scandal, whereas the story isn't that suspenseful, but the slow-burning investigation managed to intrigue with ease due to its dedicated focus and avoided turning dry. The story, peeled away of any kind of humor or action, is a classically made detective thriller of the intelligent kind that investigates the intrigues of the politicians extremely objectively and unbiased, simply following the facts of the event, Alan J. Pakula's directing is clinically sharp while the brilliant Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford are in great shape as the journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. Especially witty are their methods of investigation: in one scene, Bernstein "changes" his voice on the telephone and calls a secretary in order to make her move so that he is able to enter the office of her boss, while in another, Bernstein keeps giving random assumptions over the phone of a source, an associate who wants to stay anonymous, and tells him to hang off if a statement is false before he counts to ten. Watching their innovation in trying to "squeeze" information from various people is fascinating and helps carry the entire film, most noticeably in the sequence where they want to trick a woman into confirming if the initial "P" means "Porter", so Bob ostensibly says to Carl: "We already know that P is Porter", and the woman just says: "How did you find out about Porter?" A classic investigation film of the highest order.


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