Movie Review 2007 #123: All the President’s Men

Recommended to me by Arref, I plugged a lacunae in my cinematic education with this Oscar winning story of the reporters who broke the Watergate coverup. The movie stars Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.


Its a very good film that I think has something of a weak ending and climax.
I am not going to recount the history of the Watergate break-in, and the movie spends little time on the mechanics of what happened. The heart of the movie is the story of how Woodward and Bernstein unravel the coverup, with good old fashioned diligence and reporter savvy. As such, it depicts newsroom politics, clandestine meetings, and walking tightropes to get a story done. The leads do very well in their roles, becoming completely believeable as they face trials and setbacks in their quest to see what the frayed thread of inconsistencies of the story of a simple break in unravels.
The movie has a weakness in my opinion and that is the ending. It is true that the story of the reporting on Watergate ends a significant amount of time before Nixon’s resignation. That gap is patched over at the very end in a perhaps too-subtle manner, and I think the movie in general glides to a stop at the wrong place in any event, since it ends just after a major missstep by the reporters.
Aside from weaknesses in the ending, I enjoyed the movie. I can see, from my recent viewing of Zodiac, how much that movie was influenced by this one.