Many Americans are waiting for the full release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report because they don’t trust Attorney General William Barr's summary. But there are other, potentially more rewarding ways to enjoy political drama than insisting on Russian collusion.
If you’re itching for President Trump’s impeachment, you'd do well to watch former President Nixon’s political career crumble instead.
It happens in “All the President’s Men,” which just landed on Netflix this month. The 1976 drama, seen as one of the greatest films about journalism, details the efforts of journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to unveil the Watergate scandal.
The film takes its name from the nonfiction book by Woodward and Bernstein, its own title a homage to All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren. The 1946 novel recounts the career of a lawyer who enters politics with only good intentions. He eventually amasses political power but only by cutting moral corners along the way. From the 1970s to now, you can draw parallels yourself.
In “All the President’s Men,” Washington Post reporters Woodward, played by Robert Redford, and Bernstein, played by Dustin Hoffman, expose corruption from Nixon and Republican operatives in the lead-up to the 1972 presidential election. Part of the investigation’s appeal comes from Woodward and Bernstein’s parking garage meetings with Deep Throat, an anonymous source on the Hill who told them, among other tips, about Howard Hunt, the former CIA officer in charge of bugging the Democratic National Committee office. In one scene, as Woodward begs him for more information, Deep Throat stands ominously in the shadows, his face clouded by darkness. "Just follow the money," he says.
The film’s glamorized account keeps the facts while adding some made-up characters, changed names, and skewed timelines. But, oddly enough, the film was aggressively committed to authenticity in other ways: The fictitious newsroom’s desks are covered with real Washington Post trash.
As a story on the strength of the free press, “All the President’s Men” is fantastic, an elegy for a time when “democracy dies in darkness” still meant something. It highlights investigative journalism, the type that doesn’t spend two years anguishing over collusion that never took place.
“All the President’s Men” will entertain journalism buffs, lovers of ’70s haircuts, and whodunit fans alike. And maybe, by turning your eye back on the past, it will distract you from the still-unending “Russiagate” news cycle for a blissful two hours.