As the film opens on an Oklahoma farm during the depression, two simultaneous visitors literally hit the Wagoneer home: a ruinous dust storm and a convertible crazily driven by Red, the ... See full summary »
Based on the novel by David Baldacci, Absolute Power is about the ruthlessness of people in power. The President believes that everything he does is beyond reproach, including an affair or two. That leads to murder and everyone around him is involved. There is only one witness, a thief named Luther Whitney. They are sure he'll talk, but when? The Secret Service is determined to keep him quiet, but catching a thief isn't always easy. Written by
Kristie Murray <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Clint Eastwood directs and stars in Absolute Power, a film based on a book about a philandering president that came out in 1997. Now I wonder just who they could have had in mind?
Gene Hackman who played so well against Eastwood in The Unforgiven is the president who has made a carefully arranged rendezvous with Melora Hardin, the trophy wife of a very powerful and elderly Washington insider, E.G. Marshall. When the sex starts to get rough because the two are quite inebriated, the noise attracts secret service bodyguards Scott Glenn and Dennis Haysbert. They shoot Hardin down as she's about to stab Hackman with a letter opener. What nobody knows is that Eastwood is hiding in a vault in the bedroom.
Clint's a professional burglar who decided that night to pick that expensive townhouse to rob. After that the power of the federal government comes down on him because he can topple that selfsame government.
Absolute Power is a nicely paced political/crime thriller combining those two genres nicely for most of the film. But an incredibly muddled ending will leave you completely in the dark as to what exactly has happened or what the future will be.
Other performances of note are Laura Linney as Clint's estranged daughter who is of all things, a junior prosecuting attorney, Ed Harris as the tough homicide cop from the DC police force who's good on his job, but slow to realize the implications of what he's investigating. But best of all is Judy Davis as the hard as nails presidential chief of staff who tries for a cover-up and would have succeeded, but for Clint's unplanned presence at the crime scene.
When Absolute Power came out no one could have missed the illusions to the Clintons. The first lady is never seen, she's on a mission to Africa while all the action takes place. But E.G. Marshall is very suggestive of Averill Harriman who was gone eleven years at that time, but who held that kind of influence within the Democratic party. He also had a much younger wife, but not quite the difference in ages between Marshall and Hardin. This film also marked the farewell big screen performance of E.G. Marshall. Marshall's scene with Eastwood in the limousine is the best in the film.
I can't comment on how Daniel Baldacci's novel ended from which this film was adapted, but Clint should have opted for a much clearer ending. Then again such things even after Watergate are horrible to contemplate.
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