Tuesday, November 13, 2007

All The President's Men

Yesterday's post about Peter Morgan and his films The Deal, The Queen and The Last King of Scotland has me thinking about other movies that depict real news events in a dramatic fashion. How someone dramatizes and makes interesting a story that was recently headline news is beyond me. When it is done well I always like it.

Recently I saw A Mighty Heart starring a nearly unrecognizable Angelina Jolie as Mariane Pearl, the wife of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Daniel Pearl was kidnapped in Pakistan in 2002 and murdered by members of the Taliban. Jolie is great and honestly I don't know much of her work unless Brangelina is a film I missed. Here is the thing about this film: you know what is going to happen from frame one, yet you are riveted. Go figure. It's part detective story, part documentary, part love story and all terrific.

To me the touchstone of these real life films is All the President's Men. Here is a film that came out not long after Nixon resigned, when the country was Watergated to death, yet the film did huge box office, won Oscars and still holds me in its grip when I watch it.

Both films are about journalists and the slow, often boring process of discovery. Both have excellent performances by big name actors and both are gripping. Even though I know Woodward and Bernstein survived and Nixon would resign I still get spooked when I see Woodward in the garage with Deep Throat.

To me what makes All the President's Men work is the quality of filmmaking. Alan Pakula, the director, brought all of the elements together- great source material, an excellent script, top notch actors and great Gordon Willis visuals. It is a defining moment of translating a real story to the screen.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Il semble que vous soyez un expert dans ce domaine, vos remarques sont tres interessantes, merci.

- Daniel