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7/10
Very enjoyable...but also very unrealistic.
MartinHafer22 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
"Absolute Power" is an excellent movie to watch if you are looking for something undemanding and entertaining. The picture is made well and by the end, everything is wrapped up very nicely. If, on the other hand, you want a realistic film....well you might just wanna look further.

Luther (Clint Eastwood) is a career super-thief...with amazing skills and daring as well as a man who's never been caught. However, when he breaks into a rich man's home and raids the guy's hidden vault, things go from fantastic to horrible in a matter of no time. The hidden room is chock full of money and jewels...and Luther is making a big haul. But in the midst of doing this, some folks arrive home unexpectedly. The wife did NOT go overseas with her husband and instead is having a clandestine rendezvous with another man...a violent man who soon begins slapping her around and verbally abusing her. Then, just as she breaks away from the beast and is about to stab him, shots ring out....Secret Servicemen dispatch the woman about to kill the President. Yes, the President of the US is a violent perv...and Luther saw the woman murdered before his very eyes. Fortunately no one saw him in the hidden room and Luther leaves...absconding with some of the evidence just in case he needs it.

Now the idea of a President being a perverted, corrupt piece of crap isn't why I said that the film is unrealistic...I COULD buy that. But for Luther to fight the President AND Secret Service and do so well against them...well, that seems extremely unrealistic. Just turn off your brain as you watch...it IS a good film provided you stop your brain from thinking out the plot too much.
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5/10
Killing The Trophy Wife
bkoganbing24 January 2010
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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5/10
old Eastwood in slow thriller
SnoopyStyle29 August 2015
Luther Whitney (Clint Eastwood) is a master burglar. He breaks into the mansion of President's friend tycoon Walter Sullivan (E.G. Marshall). From behind a two-way mirror, he sees President Allen Richmond (Gene Hackman) having sex with Walter's wife Christy. It gets rough. Secret Service Agents Bill Burton (Scott Glenn) and Tim Collin (Dennis Haysbert) kill her. Chief of Staff Gloria Russell (Judy Davis) tries to cover up the incident by staging a burglary. Luther manages to steal an incriminating piece of evidence. His daughter Kate Whitney (Laura Linney) is his only family. Police detectives Seth Frank (Ed Harris) is investigating the case.

The opening could not be any slower. Eastwood is feeling the weight of that AARP membership card. The tension never gets too high. There's a couple of good scenes but they are few and far between. The other problem is that much of this movie doesn't make sense. Somebody makes an off chance comment that the burglar cleaned up. It would make sense for the police to check the vacuum cleaner. Luther tells Kate that the President is trying to kill him. It would make sense for her to seek protection that a prosecutor presumably has access to. Why would he pass a note in the White House? It would make sense for him to lay low and his note adds nothing anyways. How does an old man stage a presidential suicide by knife? It would make sense for anybody with a brain to question its validity. This slow thriller has limited believability.
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8/10
Eastwood in a Conflicted Situation
Hitchcoc7 March 2017
Gene Hackman can play some of the most sophisticated bad guys. In this one, he plays the President of the United States. He is a power hungry guy who thinks anyone else is well below him. When he has some dalliance with a woman and she doesn't play by his rules, the Secret Service, to "protect" him, kills the woman. She is a threat physically, and, more importantly, to his image. He knows this will never go beyond the room. What he doesn't know is that Clint Eastwood, playing a successful burglar, is hiding in a secure room and witnesses the whole incident. The movie involves the moral compass of a thief who knows a secret that could upset the whole political world. What does he do? I know that there are plot holes, but when you have so many heavyweights involved, it works pretty well.
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8/10
"Where's the knife? Get up there!"
mark.waltz21 July 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Those two seemingly unrelated sentences, spoken in frantic anguish by the always mesmerizing Judy Davis isn't what gets the plot going, but the fear in her is much more than just stopping a scandal. It's about stopping an international crisis that could bring not only down a presidency but make the greatest country in the free world ripe for more than just being a laughing stock. President Gene Hackman got a bit too drunkenly rough with his married lover (Melora Hardin) which caused her to try to defend herself with a letter opener. Two gunshots go off, and she's quickly dead. In rushes White House chief of staff Davis whose only goal is to cover everything up. There's no telling Hackman off for his stupidity, just quickly scheming then panicking when they realize that there was a witness, cat burglar Clint Eastwood, hiding behind a two way mirror.

You first see Eastwood in the Smithsonian sketching a classic painting, and the next scene, he's successfully breaking into the home of Hardin's powerfully wealthy husband, the elderly E. G. Marshall, hiding from the intrusion. The intense music builds as the fight between Hackman and Hardin grows more intense, and if your own heart isn't pounding by this time, you need to check your pulse. Eastwood visits his estranged daughter (Laura Linney), an attorney, he gives an indication that he's back in the profession he despises, and when she becomes involved with the Hardin case, Eastwood realizes that he needs to speak up. But this only would incriminate him, so keeping quiet seems to be the only option.

Veteran actor Marshall is quite dignified, having married Hardin out of loneliness and not wanting to be widowed again. He sadly realizes that his philanthropy will not be remembered now because of the scandal of his wife's death, but having been Hackman's benefactor, he would be completely destroyed if he learns the truth. So there are many powerful issues to be dealt with here, and while the film is not perfect, it is completely mesmerizing. Scott Glenn is also very good as one of the security officers who seems to have plans of his own once he gets involved in the presidential scandal.

Davis is fierce as a powerful woman intending to keep that power, reminding me of other women who chose position over their soul and corrupted it by supporting sinister regimes. Hackman is charming on the surface but completely corrupted, certain that he can get past this scandal through the cover up his staff without question. You get to see the build up of the case so there are moments to breathe between the more intense scenes. I couldn't believe how fast this flew by either. The first hour was like half its time, and by the time you get to the dramatic conclusion, you realize that this could have been half an hour longer and you wouldn't feel the difference.
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7/10
"I love true crime."
classicsoncall13 August 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Right out of the gate, you have to accept the premise of this film if you want to afford it any kind of credibility. It's a fairly compelling story right up until the point where we find out that Alan Richmond (Gene Hackman) is the President of the United States. The same President who accompanies the wife of an important political backer to her home for the purpose of carrying on an extramarital affair. I mean really, what President would have the wherewithal to conduct a private liaison like that when virtually every minute of his day is scheduled and recorded? Who did Hackman think he is, Bill Clinton?

Now if you removed the character of the President as villain, this would have worked a whole lot better. Luther Whitney (Clint Eastwood) could have found himself in the same series of predicaments and it would have appeared a lot more credible. There was however his relationship with daughter Kate (Laura Linney) that suggested a question mark for this viewer. With Kate admitting she wanted nothing to do with her father, and hadn't seen him in a year before he made contact again, how was it that she happened to have his phone number handy? Not saying it was impossible, but her face to face denunciation of Luther seemed to suggest that she would have kept him entirely at arm's length with no intention of ever communicating with him.

I thought the ending was just a bit too stand pat as well. In his press conference, Walter Sullivan (E.G. Marshall) claims that the despondent President committed suicide by stabbing himself!!! With no witnesses!!! In a closed room with only the two of them face to face!!! And there didn't seem to be a hint of suspicion by anyone about the credibility of that story. Best thing folks, is to leave your brain at the door with this one and just roll with the action. It's actually not as bad as the way I made it sound here, but you have to suspend disbelief in a major way on the way to the finish line.
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7/10
Absolute Power
jboothmillard24 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
A very good thriller directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. Luther Whitney (Eastwood) has witnessed a murder taking place as he was committing a robbery. He was stealing money and jewels when he saw them come in and he hid in a secret room. He saw President Richmond (Gene Hackman) rape and kill an innocent girl. Luther is now trying to hide from both the police and the President (he knows that he saw him). At the same time, Luther is also trying to get his relationship with his daughter Kate (Laura Linney) back to normal. But she knows what he has done in the past, she is not sure she can trust him. Also starring Ed Harris as Seth Frank. A very good thriller from a very good director, and actor. Very good!
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6/10
Entertaining Eastwood Thriller.
rmax30482328 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Eastwood, nobody's fool, seems to alternate between quiet, almost arty films, and commercial thrillers or comedies. This is probably an above-average example of one of his thrillers.

The plot -- in brief -- Eastwood is a highly skilled thief and in the process of burglarizing a rich old man's house he witnesses the murder of the owner's wife by the President of the United States (Gene Hackman) and two of his Secret Service agents. Clint manages to get away, carrying some damaging evidence with him. The police narrow down the list of suspects until only Clint is left plausible. Thereafter he is hunted by the police (Ed Harris), a hit man hired by the tycoon (E. G. Marshall), and the Secret Service (Judy Davis and Scott Glen). There is a subplot involving Clint's estranged daughter (Laura Linney) who gets together with Ed Harris in the film's course. In the end, through Clint's deft weaseling about, justice is done.

I had a bit of a problem with the film's moral calculus. E. G. Marshall, one of the world's richest men, is a good guy. We are told this repeatedly and he's shown a good deal of respect by people who should know. But then why did he "give the presidency" to a murdering, philandering fool like Hackman? And SHOULD he have? He loses our sympathy when he hires a hit man to kill Eastwood. Evidently, somehow, he manages to stab the president to death. The script seems to want us to applaud him for dealing out power and justice as he sees fit, and to respect him even after he kills Hackman and lies about it on TV, using the pat phrase, "He was like a son to me." "Good man," my foot.

It's rather a gutsy movie. In most of them, when a "high government official" is involved in some really nefarious business like murder, it's usually someone of lesser status than the President himself. (Cf., "No Way Out," in which, in a similar role, Hackman is Secretary of Defense or something.) In all of its aspects -- its photography, location shooting, musical score, and performances -- it's professionally competent. If it doesn't probe anyone's psych, it doesn't matter because it's easy to be swept up in the events and the clarity of the characterization. It even rises above that level in its dialog. The plot may be no more imaginative than is called for, but the writers have thrown in some sparkling bon mots.

Harris and Glenn are talking in a parking lot and introduce each other. Harris remarks that Glenn is famous as a state trooper for his heroism. Glenn: "I was younger and dumber then." Harris: "Yeah, I was younger then but I think I'm dumber now." When E. G. Marshall is negotiating with the hit man, he offers him three million dollars to kill Eastwood, who he believes murdered his wife. Hit man: "You're a good salesman." Marshall: "Selling sin is easy." And when Harris first finishes interrogating Clint, Harris says, "I'll see you tomorrow." Clint smiles gaily and replies: "Tomorrow is promised to no one." Now -- I'm not claiming that these are Shakespearean flights of poetry, but they're at least as good as a lot of well-known lines from B movies like "Detour." ("What is money? Just a piece of paper crawling with germs.") At least after hearing them you don't want to take a can of scouring powder to your auditory canals and clean out the accumulated garbage. Whoever is responsible for lines like that HAD to think beyond the merely utilitarian.

Nice journeyman job.
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8/10
A tense crime thriller with a political twist
Tweekums2 February 2020
Luther Whitney is a master burglar who breaks into the house of wealthy man. Inside he finds a safe hidden behind a large two way mirror. As he loads his bags with money and jewellery he hears voices approaching so shuts himself into the safe. From inside he sees a man and a woman enter the room. Things start to get intimate between then but then they suddenly turn violent... it looks like he is going to strangle her but then she grabs a letter opener and turns the tables. He screams out, two men enter the room and fatally shoot her. It turns out they are secret service agents and he is the US President! They, along with the President's chief of staff quickly clean the scene and plan to blame the death on a robber, not knowing one is watching them. They leave but drop a key piece of evidence. By the time they realise Whitney is fleeing with the evidence. He knows he is in real danger so plans to leave the country until he sees the president on TV offering sympathy to the woman's husband. Meanwhile the police think there is something very odd about the entire case.

I really enjoyed this thriller; it started well with the burglary/killing. This opening was tense and more than a little uncomfortable as we watch Whitney watching events play out; clearly uncomfortable but knowing helping will get him in more trouble. Things only get more interesting when the identity of the man is disclosed and it becomes apparent that the small group who know what happened will do whatever it takes to keep the truth hidden. Once they know there was a witness the tension never really stops. Clint Eastwood is on fine form as Whitney and Gene Hackman impresses as the president. The rest of the cast, which includes many familiar faces is also impressive. Clint Eastwood also does a fine job as the film's director with his no nonsense style. There are some weaker moments of course... I couldn't believe a hitman would have a rifle with a shiny scope and silencer much less how he stuck it out of a window as he prepared to shoot... this rather spoilt a fine scene where two shooters preparations nicely mirror each other. Overall though I found this to be well worth watching and would recommend it to fans of the genre.
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6/10
Eastwood plays and directs a professional work dealing with a thief who witnesses a grisly event
ma-cortes23 April 2015
When expert thief Luther Whitney (Clint Eastwood) breaks into the luxurious mansion of a politically influential billionaire (E.G. Marshall) , he is surprised by the arrival of a couple (Gene Hackman , Melora Hardin) . After their drunken shenanigans turn nasty that leads to crime and taking place a set-up in which everyone around him is involved . There is only one witness , an ultra-secretive master burglar . Luther is soon pursued by two cops (Ed Harris , Penny Johnson) , a hit man (Richard Jenkins) and the President security guards (Dennys Haysbert , Scott Glenn).

This is a light thriller in Hitchcockian style including action , suspense , thrills , improbable events and twisted intrigue . It is about the ruthlessness of people in power but the plot lacks even a political analysis or comment . This Eastwood film is solid but nothing really stick out . It is hard to take against contemporary time , as portraying a coward , cynical , traitor President , being politically incorrect for Hollywood standards . In addition , it contains some unlikely scenes as when the silly dancing between President/Gene Hackman and his cabinet chief/Judy Davis who wears a robbed necklace . Based on the novel by David Baldacci , being screen-writer the notorious William Goldman , who wrote such important successes as Marathon man , Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid , All the President's Men , The princess bride , Misery , among others . This Absolute power (1997) was well-received as well as the subsequently shot Space Cowboys ; however , both of them don't rank with Clint's best jobs as actor/filmmaker . Adequate Clint Eastwood in his ordinary stoic acting as a professional burglar who witnesses both a crime and a cover-up . Nice acting by Gene Hackman as a philander President believes that everything he does is beyond reproach . Support cast is frankly well such as Laura Linney , Melora Hardin , Kenneth Welsh , Mark Margolis, Penny Johnson , Richard Jenkins and cameo of Alison Eastwood , Clint's daughter . Furthermore , the picture displays an atmospheric and sensitive musical score by means of piano composed and performed by Lennie Niehaus , Eastwood's usual . Colorful cinematography by Jack N. Green filmed on location in Washington and Los Angeles .

The film was professionally performed and directed by Clint Eastwood . It has some flaws and gaps ; but it's nevertheless solidly agreeable . The picture is far from his other big hits such as his first directed western , Unforgiven (1992) also with Gene Hackman , which garnered him an Oscar for Best Director, and a nomination for Best Actor . Then he took on the secret service in Open fire (1993), which was a success , followed by the interesting but poorly received drama , A perfect world (1993), with Kevin Costner as a thief . Next up was a love story , Bridges of Madison (1995), which was yet again a hit . Subsequent pictures were enjoyable but nothing to do with previous works . Among them were the and the badly received True crime (1999) and Blood work (2002) . Then in 2004, Eastwood surprised yet again when he produced, directed and starred in Million Dollar Baby (2004). The movie earned Eastwood an Oscar for Best Director and a Best Actor nomination for the second time . He had other successes directing the multi-award-winning films Mystic River (2003), Flags of our fathers (2006), Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), and The changeling (2008) . After a four-year hiatus from acting, Eastwood's return to the screen in the successful Gran Torino (2008) .
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6/10
totally ridiculous
blanche-24 February 2001
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is fun and has some exciting moments but is basically absurd. Leaving the plot out, which would involve a spoiler, almost as absurd as the plot is the sight of this elderly man bungie jumping out of windows and running through the woods at Olympic-qualifying speed. I'm sorry but Clint Eastwood looks like Father Time in this one. A 45 year old woman can't do a clinch with a man her own age in most films because she's considered too old but this guy's allowed to act like a 20 year old and get away with it. I love Clint Eastwood, he has a wonderful quality but he needs a reality check.
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Eastwood's nadir in the nineties.
dbdumonteil6 June 2002
Unlikely and conventional,nothing is left from Eastwood 's great works such as "Madison County" "Honky Tonk man" or even "a perfect world".This movie could have been filmed by anyone at all.It movie takes no chances,raises no questions ,does not appeal at all,far-fetched to a fault.Who could believe Gene Hackman is the President of the united United States?Who could believe in the Gloria Russel Character and her ridiculous dance scene?All characters are cardboard:the old campaigner,once a war hero,now a burglar (and a painter) estranged from a -naturally brilliant - daughter,the two bodyguards,the cop played by Ed Harris.

This is Clint Eastwood's absolute nadir in the nineties.He would come back to making good work with "midnight in the garden of good and evil".
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8/10
just slick enough, just well-acted enough, just with that hint of good vs bad that make it work well
Quinoa198412 February 2009
There probably isn't anything too groundbreaking in Absolute Power, and maybe it's all the better for it. It's an above-average by-the-book thriller (not by the numbers, there's sort of a difference I'd rather not prattle on here), and it's more than suitable that Clint Eastwood is director. He takes a handle of William Goldman's good if predictable screenplay by casting very well and making a point about how simply ruthless the world of the cover-up is as well as the double-cross. There doesn't need to be much else said since so many other movies and books have done better, so as a "well-oiled" machine, as it were, it functions like amazing brain candy.

We get Clint as an aging thief who lives off his disability money from fighting in Korea but still likes the thrill and just the process of planning for a heist. But the place he heists from, unfortunately, is the home of a very old man (EG Marshall) who happened to get the President of the US elected (Hackman) who proceeds to interrupt Eastwood's robbery with a girl, gets into a big nasty physical fight with her, and the secret service kills her. That's when the ball of wax begins to ferment and un-bend. Now, granted, if you've read your share of books to read on an airplane it's nothing new. Yet this is a sort of challenge that Eastwood takes on, in a sense.

Meaning, if you're thinking what you'll get is something too generic that you'll just want to tune out of, stick with it... the film goes into a very sturdy structure, one that allows for a few good surprises and twists, contingent on Eastwood's Luther being a cunning criminal mastermind who can slip into disguises and copy signatures and send trinkets like, say, the murdered girl's necklace to the Chief of Staff as a "present" from the president. It wont blow your mind with these twists (though the final one with Marshall and Hackman is classic, and fitting final note for Marhsall as an actor), and it's fine with what it is. Also a big help is the cast, filled with either real stars like Eastwood and Hackman or just great character actors like Linney, Scott Glenn, Dennis Haysbert, even Ed Harris to a degree as a character actor is very good.

This is suspense film-making for those too bored to usually bother late at night or watching some channel like TNT. It's good, very good, as long as you know what it is.
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9/10
Power & Sex-Absolutely ***1/2
edwagreen17 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
A jewel thief, Clint Eastwood, gets more than what he bargained for when he witnesses the president having violent sex with his chief benefactor's wife. Things get out of hand and the Secret Service Agents shoot the woman to death.

The Eastwood character grabs the knife that she had used to stab the president. Now, everyone is after Eastwood when he flees.

There is a very strong supporting performance by Judy Davis as Gloria Russell, a vicious Chief of Staff who will do just about anything to protect the president. (Gene Hackman)

This is a taut thriller with a fine supporting cast consisting of Ed Harris, Laura Linney and others.

To say that all ends reasonably well and everyone gets what they deserve, is to put it mildly.

How come actor Dennis Haysbert, who portrays one of the agents, has been reduced to selling insurance in various commercials?
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Average thriller
Gordon-1131 October 2010
This film is about a robber who breaks into a mansion, witnessing a murder that he is not supposed to see.

"Absolute Power" does not replicate the usual Clint Eastwood magic of emotional build up and its subsequent satisfying release. The plot is not particularly engaging, with no emotional high points that are usual in his films. The plot delivery is winded and unnecessarily long. The first half an hour could easily have been condensed into ten minutes without affecting the story. For example, a chase does not need to last five minutes! Due to such unnecessarily lengthy scenes, the already thin plot loses even more tension, making "Absolute Power" an average thriller. It is weak and not engaging at all for a Clint Eastwood film.
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5/10
Mr. President, are you really above the law?
michaelRokeefe9 August 2003
Not the best nor worst from director Clint Eastwood. A master thief(Eastwood)becomes a marked man after witnessing the President's(Gene Hackman)involvement in a murder. The story line is not the easiest to believe, but interesting enough. Some good performances by the likes of Ed Harris and Laura Linney. Rounding out the cast are Judy Davis, Scott Glenn and Dennis Haysbert. The slow pace is the biggest fault I find with the movie; but maybe that is to build drama. Albeit Eastwood fans have endured worse.
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9/10
Talented Cast And Material Saves The Movie
sunwarrior1311 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Absolute Power is a political thriller produced, directed by, and starring Clint Eastwood as a thief who witnesses a murder. The screenplay by William Goldman is based on the 1996 novel of the same name written by David Baldacci.The film also stars Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Judy Davis, Laura Linney, Dennis Haysbert and Scott Glenn. It was also the last screen appearance of E.G. Marshall.

In this thriller, an aging cat burglar becomes a crusader embroiled in a deadly cat-and-mouse game involving murder and a government cover-up. The trouble begins when ex-con Luther Whitney decides to pull off one last heist before retiring. Just as he finishes looting the vault of a well-fortified mansion, a drunken couple enters the adjoining bedroom apparently eager to start making love. But something goes awry and a violent tussle ensues that abruptly ends when gun-wielding men bust in and shoot down the woman. During the ensuing chaos, Luther slips out. Only later does the audience learn that the would-be lovers were U.S.- President Alan Richmond and Christy Sullivan, the young wife of the President's biggest supporter Walter Sullivan. As the investigation and cover-up begins, Luther, who has already been contacted by hard-boiled and suspicious detective Seth Frank begins to fear that he will be blamed for the killing and prepares to leave the country. He tries to see his daughter Kate to make peace with her for having been absent in prison during most of her life, but she rejects him. Luther goes to the airport, but just before he flies, he sees a press conference in which President Richmond, without so much as a twitch, goes on a tirade concerning his stand against violence. Something inside him snaps and he abruptly decides to stay and fight for justice.

Adapted from a novel by David Baldacci and featuring a powerful all-star cast, the story works at different levels, not only as a straight- forward thriller but also as an insightful look at the love between the old thief and his estranged daughter, a highly successful prosecuting attorney.It had an immense potential to be a classic consider the talent of the cast involved in the movie.Unfortunately,the movie ended rather abruptly as it minimized the film to a thriller that lacks suspense and tension.Aside from that,there was a seemingly lack of effort in making a good film.What saves the film is the talent of the cast and the great potential the material had despite of its poor ending and contrived and formulaic events as the movie ends.
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7/10
It's not for everyone, but it's compelling enough to me personally.
hitchcockthelegend16 January 2009
Luther Whitney is a professional thief, he also happens to be exceptional at it. During a carefully planned burglary at the home of wealthy Walter Sullivan, Whitney is disturbed to hear voices coming from outside the room he is in. Hiding in a secret room he observes from behind a two-way mirror the cheating wife of Sullivan with her lover for the night. Whitney is further startled to find that the man in the company of Mrs Sullivan is none other than the current president of the United States, Allen Richmond. He is then horrified to witness the couples union getting out of control, Richmond starting to get far too heavy handed with the lady in question. Things spiral out of control and during the fight Mrs Sullivan goes to stab the President with a paper knife, thus giving the entering secret service agents no choice but to gun her down. Sensing a political scandal, the agents and Richmond's Chief Of Staff, Gloria Russell decide to cover the incident up. Whitney, after making his escape, doesn't know what to do, who's going to believe a renowned thief, but crucially, will he be allowed to live if he comes forward? Dastardly goings on and government cover ups are merely part of what is going on in the search for Absolute Power.

Absolute Power is a fine film, but I'm a little biased because I really like the pacing of the picture and more importantly, I like the plot. It's true that the film fails to capitalise on its first hour set up, we are brought into Whitney's world and given reminders of dodgy doings that blight so many countries political machinations, but then director Clint Eastwood and his team fall in to the trap of adding strands that merely alter the viewers attention span, thus taking us away from what was a concrete and wholly engrossing plot arc. But with a truly diamond cast of professionals in the piece, the film manages to stay the good side of good, tho the ending is one that is sure to be a divisive one for any prospective first time viewers. Eastwood stars as Whitney and is joined by Gene Hackman (President Allen Richmond), Ed Harris, Laura Linney, Scott Glenn, Dennis Haysbert, Judy Davis and E.G. Marshall. William Goldman adapts from David Baldacci's popular novel, and Eastwood's direction is the usual steady professional job that he would further enhance down the line with the likes of Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby.

Should have been a truly great political based thriller/drama, but as it is, I settle for it being a way above average one that has far too many good points to ever see it as being below average or bad. 7/10
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8/10
"Absolute Power" entertains Absolutely!
zardoz-137 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Clint Eastwood makes two kinds of movies. He cranks out sure-fire popcorn hits such as "Dirty Harry" (1971) and "Pale Rider" (1985). At the same time, he gambles with unproven, oddball projects such as "Pink Cadillac" (1989) and "A Perfect World" (1993). Eastwood's latest opus "Absolute Power," co-starring Gene Hackman, Judy Davis, Ed Harris, Laura Linney, and Scott Glenn, combines elements of both kinds of Clint flicks. Altogether, "Absolute Power" is a laid back, efficient potboiler that avoids rabid sensationalism but delivers the goods.

In "Absolute Power," Clint plays Luther Whitney, a elderly but hi-tech cat burglar. During a jewelry heist at the posh estate of a well-known Washington, D.C. power broker, a drunken couple interrupt Luther as he's cleaning out the safe. He is trapped in a closet that houses the vault and valuables, but he remains undetected throughout the tryst. Suddenly,things get rough, and the man (Gene Hackman) finds himself in a deadly fight with a scorned woman. She stabs him once in the arm and is poised to plunge a letter opener into his chest when his Secret Service bodyguards scramble in and gun her down. Meanwhile, a shocked Luther sits quietly in the closet behind a two-way mirror and grimly contemplates his future. The man responsible for the murder of the socialite is none other than the President of the United States!

Republicans will no doubt stand in line and argue that Alan Richmond (Hackman) is a Democrat. The President in "Absolute Power" is insidious. Gene Hackman, a gifted actor who can turn his emotions on and off as easily as a water facet, excels in his portrayal of a philandering President. The President's Chief of Staff (Judy Davis) struggles to keep a lid on the murder. The Secret Service agent (Scott Glenn) who shot the girl bows to the Chief of Staff's decision not to summon the police. They clear the room of all evidence. But they lose the incriminating letter opener. When they go back, they find it gone and a rope hanging out a bedroom window. They realize somebody witnessed the murder, but they fail to capture him.

"Absolute Power" contains a couple of classic scenes. The President's tango with his chief of staff in a room full of guests while they discuss the murder is superb. Eastwood's clash with a Secret Service agent at the hospital is hard-edged Old Testament revenge. If you're looking for a dandy confrontation scene between Eastwood and Hackman like the one they had in "Unforgiven" prepare to be disappointed. The Eastwood and Hackman characters never cross paths.

Scriptwriter William Goldman of "Heat" has retooled David Baldacci's bestseller. Notably, he's changed the ending. "Absolute Power" has enough scenes from the popcorn style Clint movies to get it over the rough spots, but it strives to be different. Clint fans will approve of their hero's invincibility. As Luther Whitney, Eastwood doesn't miss a trick in besting the bad guys. But he doesn't play his usual taciturn loner. His role emphasizes him as his father figure more than his action figure. "Absolute Power" is rated R, but there's no nudity, little blood, and moderate profanity.
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7/10
Selling sin is easy.
lastliberal15 June 2007
Actually, this is a favorite Eastwwod film. Not only does Clint do a good job in this film, but also I am not too fond of Gene Hackman, and I like seeing him get his due.

Eastwood plays a cat burglar - a really good one. He hit a mansion where the owner is out of town. He finds a secret safe that has one way glass and a chair. Now, here is where it gets a little far fetched. The President shows up with the wife of the owner. She skipped the trip. Eastwood is in the safe watching the action. Does the owner also do that? Kinky. Oh yes, the owner is old (E.G. Marshall) and is wife (Melora Hardin from The Office) is young and hot. Well, things go wrong and the Secret service is cleaning up the mess and they discover that someone else was there. To the chase!

Eastwood's relationship with his daughter (Laura Linney) plays an important part and provides some of the most interesting scenes. Other very interesting scenes are provided by Judy Davis (Husbands and Wives, A Passage to Idia) as one of the Secret Service agents.

Ed Harris, Scott Glen and Dennis Haysbert also add to the story. It is worth two hours of your life just to see all these stars in one film.
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6/10
Interesting enough
grantss26 June 2021
A veteran burglar, Luther Whitney, breaks into the house of a billionaire. His endeavours are unexpectedly interrupted when the billionaire's wife returns home with another man. Their romantic liaison turns violent and the woman is shot dead by the Secret Service. The man is the US President.

Started very well, with a fair amount of intrigue and a David vs Goliath scenario. However, as the film goes on the plot becomes thinner and less engaging. The burning question of how can Whitney fight the US President and the Secret Service gets answered in a rather lacklustre sort of way. Rather than go out with a bang the film fizzles out.

Overall though, interesting enough to be watchable.
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5/10
A Reminder That Washington Is Corrupt
view_and_review10 October 2020
Warning: Spoilers
The last three Washington, D.C. based movies I saw were two comedies and a mystery thriller and all had to do with the president. This movie, "Absolute Power," has a President Alan Richmond (Gene Hackman) being a philanderer with a penchant for violent sex. When his violence went too far, and the young woman had him dead to rights with a letter opener, the secret service came to the rescue and shot her dead. This was no ordinary killing. The president was getting kinky with (and the secret service shot) his friend's wife who was a wealthy older man.

Luther Whitney (Clint Eastwood), an elderly master thief, witnessed the entire ordeal from behind a two-way mirror while he was trying to rob the place. The chief of staff, Gloria Russell (Judy Davis), who happened to also be present at this soiree acted quickly opting for a cover up. And not to be all Scooby-Doo in here, but they would've gotten away with it too if it weren't for that pesky Luther. In their brisk attempts to clean up the crime scene they dropped the letter opener which was a crucial piece of evidence, and Luther grabbed it and ran. From then on it was standard ubiquitous, omnipresent, bloodthirsty government stuff.

They tried to garner more sympathy for the death of the woman by showing how distraught her husband, Walter Sullivan (E.G. Marshall), was. And even though she was about 30 years his junior they tried to paint the picture that he wasn't just a dirty old man. As he somberly confided with Luther at one point that after his first wife of countless years died he swore that he would never attend another wife's funeral, hence he married a toddler. This one was supposed to outlive him. It was at this point the audience was supposed to collectively go "Awwww" and shed a tear for the man. It was at this point I was looking for the airline sick bag.

Luther had to stay one step ahead of the corrupt secret service agents who were operating at the behest of a corrupt chief of staff who was covering for a corrupt POTUS. To me this movie looked like another Clint Eastwood homage to himself--which there are a litany of. Yes, he always gives his character some flaw, but he's going to be the good guy and he's going to be the winner in the end.
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10/10
Absolutely Eastwood at His Best!
anaconda-406585 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Absolute Power (1997): Dir: Clint Eastwood / Cast: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Laura Linney, Judy Davis: Intriguing setup has a murder witnessed through a looking glass. The title can refer to the President who is guilty of a crime or the thief who witnessed it. Clint Eastwood stars as a thief who does drawings of the places he plans to rob. He lifts priceless items before hearing footfall so he ducks behind a two-way mirror. The President and a young woman enter and get intimate. After a struggle, two secret service men storm in and shoot her dead. The chief of staff constructs a plan to avoid conspiracy but they overlook the letter opener used by the victim, which the thief escapes with. Eastwood directs advocating brains over brawn in the solution. Humor is presented when he dons disguises and investigates. Gene Hackman is well cast as President whose victim was the daughter of a billionaire. Eastwood will toy with their paranoia until he meets his down fall. Ed Harris is superb as a cop who doesn't suspect the thief of murder and doesn't realize that his office phone has been bugged. Laura Linney provides an emotional centre as Eastwood's daughter who assists police and becomes a target. Judy Davis is effective as the scheming chief of staff. Theme regards corrupt lifestyles and a desire to revert even when his nature refuses. Score: 10 / 10
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Inspired from the Clinton scandal
mm-3910 June 2001
Many movies where made about the President getting into trouble, after the Clinton scandal, and this one follows the pattern. My friend Tony, a Bill Clinton fan, hated this film. Myself, I enjoyed this film greatly, I forgot about the Clinton influence, and focused on Eastwood. Eastwood can direct a dark film, with humor and action, and the way it melts together create a great film. Years from now when the Clinton scandal is a foot note in history, people will see the film for the gem it is.
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7/10
Enjoyable
deloudelouvain4 April 2015
I give this movie a seven star rating. And that's for me a movie that I enjoyed and might watch again in the future when I forgot about the story. Above 7 stars is a movie that I find very good to excellent. Under a 7 star it's a movie that I will never watch again. I thought Absolute Power was a nice entertaining movie. I first wanted to rate it an eight but there were a couple things that bugged me so I lowered it. I won't tell about it because I don't like spoilers. With actors like Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman & Ed Harris you are almost certain that it will be a good movie and when the story is good like this one then it can't go wrong. Don't hesitate and watch it.
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