All the President’s Men probably appeals most to the people who lived through the Watergate scandal. It is a huge part of American history and something that still has ramifications today. It went from a small break-in to the end of a Presidential career. The issue I have with this movie is that it only seems to cover half of the story.
To be fair, the half of the story it covers is hugely interesting. It’s a gripping story, starting very small and inconsequential, almost being forgotten and breezed over by the multitude of press establishments and then slowly and due to sheer doggish determination, becoming something much bigger.
Its presented in a very clear, black and white manner. This isn’t a movie of flashy cuts, chases through the street or constant threats for people’s lives. This is a movie presenting the bare facts, the long struggle to get any sort of information and the interesting way in which the story begin to break.
Its testament to director Alan J. Pakula that he didn’t feel the need to punch up the story or add more phony drama. I’m sure you’d struggle to make this movie today and there are parts that do plod, feeling like the central characters are swimming through treacle to get what they need for their story.
That is the other saving grace of the film. The two central actors are fantastic. It’s strange to see Robert Redford as the struggling new recruit and Dustin Hoffman as the established, experienced and slightly jaded reporter but they fit their roles perfectly. Going from reluctant partners to a solid, dedicated team is a story within itself and one told very well here.
The issue I have with the movie is that after the meetings, interviews, long takes of people typing and news reports used as exposition, we never get to see the impact of their story. It seems to stop before the huge revelations are exposed. Maybe its my lack of detailed knowledge of events but knowing that this movie is about the Watergate scandal, those are the parts of the story I wanted to see and it seems to stop before it does that aspect any justice.
Overall, All the President’s Men is a solid recounting of an important part of American history. It doesn’t glamorise or add gloss to what was a struggle of an investigation to get to the truth. This can sometimes be a difficult watch but it’s helped by the two great leads. I just wish it had gone further with the tale and got to the most important and impact part of the whole saga.
Rating – 3
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