Film of the Day (05/09/19): All The President’s Men

Written By William Goldman and Directed By Alan J. Pakula

I will forever remain a sucker for a journalism story, particularly one rooted in reality. The profession is a noble one, even if current times have seen that nobility take a nosedive, as everyone seems to have a rooting interest and pay lip service to their party of choice in lieu of holding those in power accountable for their actions. But that accountability is paramount to American principles and only in upholding that idea can we uphold the true spirit of our foundations.

The central idea is that inexhaustible search for the truth that would prove to rock the nation. Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) and Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) knew that where there was smoke, there would be a fire, and once they got a hint of that smell they trusted their senses to lead them to the flame. Because of their tenacity, Americans watched groundbreaking history live on TV when their president resigned the post. It’s still a very big deal more than forty years later, and it started with two journalists.

Hoffman plays the younger, brash Bernstein  very well, turning on the charm when he needs to and never letting his fangs out once he has them sank into his target. Not to be outdone, Redford plays the senior role (despite Bernstein having been at the Washington Post for a longer period when they paired up for the Watergate story), taking care to firm up all the details and deciphering the hints given by Deep Throat.

The film can feel a bit repetitive at times, but it’s important to truly explore the struggle they went through to gain the trust of sources. sort through the facts, and get the Post to run the story they wanted to run. It could have been edited a bit tighter (one thing that stuck out to me in a big way is the use of a very recognizable exterior shot at two different points in the movie), but overall Pakula delivered a very strong piece of work. This is a film that stands the test of time, with themes as relevant now as they will ever be.

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