All the President’s Men (1976)

All the President’s Men
Directed by Alan J Pakula
Written by William Goldman based on the book by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
(number 305)

The only reason I recognise the Watergate hotel, Hell. The only reason I know anything at all about the Watergate scandal was because of a sweet little, criminally poorly seen movie called Dick. Aside from the potentially off putting name, I assume no one saw it because it was a comedy and it had Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams in it. Also maybe it didn’t have the distribution. Anyway, it’s a bloody good film and really my best context for what this movie is about. I know a lot of details from watching Dick that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

I suspect that like a few others on this list, this movie has lost its impact over time. When this came out it was only two years after the actual events, so it would have been a chance for the general public to actually understand what had happened. I can see that it would have been one of those movies with a big impact at the time – like Farenheit 9/11 or something. But watching it now, it’s a historical piece. And to me, it’s not a particularly compelling one at that.

It’s hard to know if I’d care about it more if I were American or not. I suspect this movie’s on the list due to the historical importance, documenting as it does a big moment in recent American history.

Does it make me love the people? Honestly? I found the movie a little too far on the boring side to care about the characters. That said, it’s mostly just watching a couple of driven guys be pretty good at their jobs. I dunno, I mean. Dustin Hoffman is good obviously, Redford too but I just… ehhh. I don’t care particularly about them or the people they talk to.

Bechdel test: there are a tonne of named women but they only talk to men, they’re almost never in the same scene as each other. They’re just informants and we only see them via Bernstein or Woodward.

Best line: Listen, I’m tired of your chicken shit game! I need names. I need to know what you know.

State of Mind: Honestly I just didn’t care about this movie. I was ready to be drawn into the intrigue but it was a bit too slow moving and a bit too true to life to be exciting to me. Ironic, since I really enjoyed Zodiac? Maybe, or maybe the hunt for a serial killer is just a little more interesting to me than a crappy president. Maybe the crappy president being impeached is a bit too nasty given what’s going on (and not going on) with Trump at the moment.

Watched movie count