Saturday, January 15, 2011

All the President's Men (Alan J. Pakula)

The knights of the Watergate.

Film Review Archive (date seen: October 5, 2010)

Hearing and reading all about the scandals of the higher offices attached with the "-gate" suffix, it's great to arrive at where all of these have started; the political scandal that defined the 70's: The "Watergate". "All the President's Men" is to the 70's what Oliver Stone's "JFK" is to the cinema of the 90's. Both tackle and explore, with investigative purpose, some sensitive, explosive issues that can make or break, accuse or acquit.

This film, directed by Alan J. Pakula, is one of those rare ones that temporarily departs from the aesthetic pleasures the medium can offer and instead collides and focuses with hard facts and truths, leaving a bit of character arc behind (although this being based on a true story). Throughout the film, we see Bernstein and Woodward (Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford) running, talking, and frantically typing, but we never see their characters show any semblance of depth, making them solely as instruments of a search for truth. But then, it may also have been a subtle touch, enhancing their tireless quest too much that we never had the chance to peek into their personal lives; a quiet, yet effective commentary on the "clockwork" lives of investigative journalists at their most relentless.

To this day, the "Watergate" scandal is viewed as the primary testament of a system (and its officials) too consumed by power, and Bernstein and Woodward as the puny knights that dared to bring them down. "All the President's Men" is their tale.


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