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Absolute Power (1997)

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A career thief witnesses a horrific crime involving the U.S. President.

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writers:

David Baldacci (book), William Goldman (screenplay)
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Popularity
4,256 ( 772)
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clint Eastwood ... Luther Whitney
Gene Hackman ... President Richmond
Ed Harris ... Seth Frank
Laura Linney ... Kate Whitney
Scott Glenn ... Bill Burton
Dennis Haysbert ... Tim Collin
Judy Davis ... Gloria Russell
E.G. Marshall ... Walter Sullivan
Melora Hardin ... Christy Sullivan
Kenneth Welsh ... Sandy Lord (as Ken Welsh)
Penny Johnson Jerald ... Laura Simon (as Penny Johnson)
Richard Jenkins ... Michael McCarty
Mark Margolis ... Red Brandsford
Elaine Kagan ... Valerie
Alison Eastwood ... Art Student
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Storyline

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 <hankm@cris.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Corrupts Absolutely.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

14 February 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Poder absoluto See more »

Filming Locations:

Baltimore, Maryland, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,770,220, 17 February 1997, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$50,007,168, 15 June 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Laura Linney appeared in such filmed productions relating to American politics as Dave (1993), John Adams (2008), Running Mates (2000), this movie, Man of the Year (2006), and Hyde Park on Hudson (2012). See more »

Goofs

It is never explained in the film how Richard Jenkins, Walter Sullivan's hired assassin, finds out about the meeting at Café Alonzo. The meeting was only arranged the day before. See more »

Quotes

Allen Richmond: What do we know, so far?
Gloria Russell: Well, we've checked his license plates. He stole the car from a police impoundment lot.
Allen Richmond: We're not dealing with a fool here, are we? Has he initiated contact?
Gloria Russell: Burton doesn't think he will.
Allen Richmond: I agree. I apologize for my behavior. It won't happen again. Consider it a blip on the screen. As far as I'm concerned that's all he is, too.
Gloria Russell: Well, he could be a little more than that, Allen. He saw.
Allen Richmond: He saw nothing. He saw a drunk woman who liked rough sex too much. He's a burglar. ...
See more »


Soundtracks

Power Waltz
Composed by Clint Eastwood
Orchestrated and conducted by Lennie Niehaus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Killing The Trophy Wife
24 January 2010 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

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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