DVD, Blu-Ray Movie Review
Directed by Alan J. Paluka, Written by William Goldman (screenplay), Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (book), 136 minutes, Rated R.
By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz
For all its jargon, false leads, and minutes behind the typewriter, Alan J. Paluka’s adaptation of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s uncovering of the Watergate Scandal--Nixon’s Government-sanctioned plot to sabotage the Democratic Party--ensnares the viewer with intrigue and paranoia. Just out on Blu-ray disc, “All the President’s Men” grabs hold of the Watergate scandal from the perspective of the objective as Paluka focuses on the facts and delivers a clear telling of a convoluted mystery.
After a break-in at the Watergate Hotel by former CIA agents, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) discovers there’s more to this crime than meets the eye. Woodward makes a few calls and pools his resources before realizing the break-in goes up the political food-chain.
His report doesn’t please everyone -- especially the implicated parties. Nervous that Woodward isn’t experienced enough to handle the story, his editor assigns Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) to polish Woodward’s article.
This doesn’t make things any easier, though--no one will comment on the story and without confirmation, it remains hearsay. With few places to go, Woodward entrusts the guidance of a cryptic source known as Deep Throat (Hal Holbrook), who leads Woodward and Bernstein on a trail that ends at the White House.
Filmed only four years after Watergate, which forced President Nixon to resign from office, “All the President’s Men” feels as timely as ever. Goldman’s screenplay and Paluka’s directing stress fact and proof, showing Woodward and Bernstein on the phone and pounding the keys, confirming their story’s accuracy. In the end, that’s all these journalists are after, and all that their sources do not want to give.
This search for the truth gives the film great momentum. Woodward and Bernstein conduct their process with subtlety and care, wadding the murky waters of conspiracy. Hoffman and Redford dive head first into danger without second guessing their story or thinking of the consequences.
The mystery unravels at lightning speed. The directing, editing and acting convey the methodical movements of Woodward and Bernstein, as well as the crime’s cover-up. The film’s pieces are as subtle as they are obvious. From the interviewing techniques to the looming presence of Nixon, the film retains complexity while carefully explaining the story.