6.7/10
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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
2,884 ( 1,030)
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

Though set in Washington, D.C., most of the picture was shot in Baltimore, Maryland except for some exteriors and establishing shots. See more »

Goofs

The headline in the Washington Times reads "Jewel Thief Sought", yet the text of the article is about congressional hearings. See more »

Quotes

Luther Whitney: Remember, tomorrow is promised to no one.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Remember the Titans (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Kate's Theme
Composed by Clint Eastwood
Orchestrated and conducted by Lennie Niehaus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Corrupts absolutely

Absolute Power may not be an overly special film but it was the first movie I saw in the cinema after leaving high school. I was certainly not the target audience but it had my attention from the first scene and maintained the suspense for the during of the running time, even if it doesn't build to much.

Clint Eastwood plays Luther Whitney, an expert thief who targets billionaire industrialist Walter Sullivan (grouchy old EG Marshall, in his last theatrical movie) while he is off on vacation. While in the midst of cleaning out the vault the President of the United States (Gene Hackman) enters the room with Sullivan's wife. Whitney hides in the vault, which has a two-way mirror, and witnesses the President get a little too rough with the woman, which ends in her fighting him off and being murdered by the secret service. The Chief of Staff concocts a plan to cover up the murder not knowing that Whitney is watching the whole thing. As the group leave he escapes, taking a crucial piece of evidence with him.

Initially unsure what to do, Whitney decides to taunt the President, though it's not clear what his complete plan is or even if he's just free-forming. If one should fault Absolute Power for any reason it's that it establishes a lot of plot and potential but never really does anything with it and ends with an anti-climactic cop-out.

Where it succeeds is with the small cast of characters who really make the dialogue and relationships work. Ed Harris as the confused but dedicated cop investigating the case, Laura Linney as Whitney's resentful daughter, and the austere Scott Glenn as the self-doubting agent make every scene effortless even when there's not much happening.

Adapted from (and streamlined and improved in the process) the bloated novel by David Baldacci (I call them 'Airport novels' – those 600-page bricks with generic covers featuring nothing but the title and author in giant gold letters in a tacky font) the screenplay makes many changes but they are all for the better. Eastwood's direction is slow and steady – or 'mature'. The pace and framing is the antidote for anyone bored to tears with the nauseating aesthetic of today's comic-book movies and CGI nightmares.

A curious thing about the beginning of the movie is that Clint Eastwood only has 2 lines of dialogue for the entire 35 minutes. I don't understand why he didn't cut them out and remain silent, which would give the film a peculiar edge.


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