The Hunting of the President (2004) Poster

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Too Much to Cover in 90 Minutes
dglink4 October 2004
Another in a series of recent political documentaries that started with "Fahrenheit 911" and whose end does not seem to be in sight, "The Hunting of the President" is the least successful so far. While the film does have its moments, especially those that detail the brutalizing of Susan McDougal, the filmmakers try to squeeze too much into the short running time. Comments, images, and events flash by, especially towards the beginning, and left this viewer a bit confused. The clips from old movies, which I assume were for comic effect, could have been omitted as they only added to the clutter. Perhaps someone who has read the book would be able to follow the portrayed events better than someone who has to rely on their memory of newscasts from the period. While the film is definitely worth watching if for nothing else than as a history review, the talk given by President Clinton at the film's premiere, which is included on the DVD, is a concise and masterful lecture on political trends in American history and is more engrossing than much of the documentary. Mr. Clinton easily could pursue yet another successful career as a history professor
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The Vasty Deep
afhick28 June 2004
Less a vindication of Clinton than an indictment of the press, this film provides a timely commentary on the excesses of journalistic zeal that almost brought down a presidency. I was especially moved by the women players, including Susan McDougal, aka Joan of the Ozarks, who was treated like a serial killer during her two years in prison, after she ran afoul of nasty-minded Ken Starr and his minions. I also like the brave and witty portrait of ex-Arkansas Governor Riley's wife Claudia. The facts presented here may seem all too familiar by now, but we can thank authors Joe Conason and Gene Lyons for unearthing a good number of them. Students of history will long debate the merits of the Clinton presidency, but the incompetence of the press is now an established fact.
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Makes Powerful Case For Abuse Of Power
wiluxe-227 June 2004
Gene Lyons and Joe Conason's book THE HUNTING OF THE PRESIDENT had no photos of the major players, a real shame when you have a huge cast and no way to keep the players straight . Seeing the film brings the faces of some of the story's less well-known personalities--the Dogpatch types from Arkansas (such as the bait shop owner and the Arkansas troopers), the White Supremacists, and the members of the Arkansas Project--into the light of day...Susan McDougal emerges from this film a bona fide hero, as she should. I thought I knew this area of the story well, but there are chilling details about her treatment by the Independent Counsel that are shockingly disturbing...The film doesn't try to excuse Clinton's behavior vis-a-vis Monica Lewinski; the real outrage, it suggests, is the abuse of power within the Office of the Independent Counsel. For that it makes a very strong case. A powerful film indeed.
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Chronicle of a witch hunt
George Parker1 October 2004
The Hunting of a President is a documentary which chronicles the right wing beyond-all-reason attempt to unseat President Clinton during his two terms in office. Although it offers insights into the innerworkings of the anti-Clinton cabal, the film is more historical retrospective than revealing sensationalism as it pulls together the salient elements of what ultimately proved an ill-wrought Republican debacle. You'll see a rehash of everything from the Paula Jones brouhaha to the Whitewater scandal to the Ken Star witch-hunt to the Lewinsky affair and more all neatly laid out in a 90 minute package. Under special features is a talk by Bill Clinton which adds historical context and ancillary commentary. Well worth a look for anyone who lived through the 90's feeling as though they never quite understood what all that flack was about. (B)
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Finally, the truth
paulfreed17 November 2004
After seeing this movie I feel even more certain that we should change the

constitution to allow Presidents to serve more than 2 terms. Clinton was the greatest President in my lifetime and I am Embarrassed for our country with

the recent election of Dubya. How could 58 million people be so DUMB! We

are hated and despised throughout the world. Our economy is in the tank and

over 1000 of our finest have died in an illegitimate war. When Clinton lied, no one died! His lie was about a personal failing. He was pushed into the

impeachment thing by right-wing zealots. If those idiots had been doing their job and not salivating over a sex scandal maybe the President could have

concentrated on more important things. I blame the right-wing congressmen

and Senators for the build up to 9/11.
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One of the Best Documentaries Ever Made
pswift28 June 2004
The Hunting of the President is one of the best documentaries made. In what has turned out to be such a banner and distinguished year for documentaries, including Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me," Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11", as well as "The Control Room" and "The Corporation", this one stands out above the pack.

The film makes a step-by-step examination of the attempted character assassination on then Governor of Arkansas (and later current President Bill Clinton), from 1990, before his ascension to The White House in 1992, to the year 2000, when the investigations into Clinton's financial and personal affairs were basically over.

With its clear focus and incisive interviews with some of the key spinsters who worked both for and against Clinton at the time, this documentary makes you aware of the kind of back room wrangling and political positioning that goes on when the two main political institutions are vying for power and public attention.

The film does not use heavy handedness, at all, in its treatment of the subject matter. Instead, it is its real seriousness and mature focus on the topic at hand that provide the fuel and fire that lead you to its firm conclusions. This may turn-off some viewers, but no one will be able to deny the film's findings or minimize its well thought-out examination of past political goings-on.

This documentary, like Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11", is both instructive and historical and should not be missed by anyone. Overall grade: solid A.
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Well documented arguments
dstern125 July 2004
I rate this documentary as a "9" on a scale where "Bowling for Columbine" is a "10" and "Fahrenheit 9/11" is an "8."

The film makers show in detail how a group of right-wingers manipulated the system in order to bring-down an American President. It further shows the abuse of power by a Republican Congress and a vicious "independent" counsel.

It further shows an American newsmedia obliging in its coverage.

The true heroine of the story was Susan McDougal who went to prison rather than commit perjury.

Lest we forget that Ken Starr released the video of Clinton's deposition on the same day the President addressed the UN on terrorism. How much more could we have done about terrorism if the President was not distracted by the baseless attacks?
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Shock revelation backed up by pure truth! Chilling.
tahirjon65 October 2004
This documentary revealed in a narrative style, how shockingly powerful the campaign to destroy Bill Clinton was.

The documentary ran like a thesis paper. Each statement was backed up by several facts, with at least one reputable political figure backing it up. There were also several confessions from well know republicans involved as well.

The narrative style backed up by Morgan Freeman's dark voice provided yet another bonus.

It truly provides an insight you've never seen. It changed my views on Clinton and how far certain political partys will go to get their way.

Music- 4 Out of 5 Narration- 5 Out of 5 Proof- 5 Out of 5

Overall- 9.5 Out of 10
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Bravo McDougall
phillipflynn14 August 2005
I liked the documentary - particularly Clinton's speech which is contained in the 'Extras' on the DVD where he outlines the historical context of the film. Following the Whitewater/Lewinsky scandal from a distance (i.e. in Australia) you felt that there had to be something in it but I underestimated how well the Press, and therefore public opinion, could be manipulated in a post-Watergate world. I will now seek out the book or perhaps Clinton's autobiography in order to fill in some of the blanks. A well constructed piece which allows the main players to tell it for themselves and avoids preaching at the audience a la Mike Moore style. You don't have to dislike Clinton to be disgusted by what was done to Susan McDougall.
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Wanted to like it. Didn't.
spensercat6 November 2004
This film has some major problems. One,it explains almost nothing. Even if you paid close attention in the '90s to the "deep-in-the-weeds" details of Whitewater and the pre-Monica sexual allegations against Clinton---this movie not only assumes you understood this stuff to begin with, but that you remember it too. Mistake. If you are looking for a movie that will shed some light on these subjects, this isn't it.

Second,the director constantly interrupts the storyline with flashes to clips of "gangsters" or "train crashes" which I assume are supposed to imply the dastardliness of the "hunters of the president". The impact is distracting to the viewer and trivializes the subject at hand. If a class of sophomores somewhere were asks to dramatize this subject, I have the feeling this is what they would come up with.

Weak effort.
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