All the President’s Men (1976) 4.64/5 (2)


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Rating: The Good – 80.4
Genre: Thriller
Duration: 138 mins
Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Martin Balsam

Perhaps the best of all the 70′s conspiracy thrillers, this slow burning drama follows the investigation of Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein into the Watergate break in. The film captures all of the complexity of the story and can spin the head of even the most astute viewer. That said, the complexity actually serves to enhance the drama and ultimately the suspense as the two reporters find themselves targeted by the intimidating force they find it so difficult to put a face to. Alan J. Pakula’s direction is superb as he switches between long lens close-ups of the various notes and documents and wide shots of the offices and underground car parks. His use of deep focus and staging in these latter shots is truly extraordinary, a technique he uses on more than one occasion to set the historical as well as circumstantial context to the reporters’ investigations. In setting the tense atmosphere, Pakula is helped ably by David Shire’s subtle and foreboding score and it remains amongst the most recognisable scores from that period. There are some major heavy hitters duking it out on the acting front. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman are brilliant as Woodward and Bernstein respectively and have great chemistry together. Jason Robards is in his usual scene-stealing form as editor Ben Bradlee and Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, and Hal Holbrook (as Deep Throat) are excellent in support.

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