'Absolute Power' is another testament to Clint Eastwood's ability as a
talented filmmaker. What makes Eastwood so good is not only his diversity in
subject matter from 'Play Misty for Me' (1971) to 'Unforgiven' (1992) but his
uncanny ability to take films with relatively long scenes and stretch them
into the most absorbing films made anywhere by anyone.
'Absolute Power' is an extremely powerful motion picture filled with
intrigue (both political and social) that manages to construct its plot line
in a manner suitable for building to a daring climax but also in a way for
serious discussion after you leave the theatre.
A life long criminal who specializes in high profile burglaries
(Eastwood) forces his way into a mansion one evening and upon committing a
routine heist is forced to hide in seclusion when others arrive. From his
viewpoint he witnesses a sexual escapade which leads to a murder involving a
billionaire's wife and the most powerful man in the world, the President of
the United States (Gene Hackman). Also involved in the clandestine crime are
two Secret Service agents (Scott Glenn and Dennis Haysbert) and the
President's Chief of Staff (Judy Davis).
The investigating homicide officer who tracks Eastwood to the scene of
the crime (Ed Harris) is the film's protagonist who is the key to the film's
central focus. Eastwood has an estranged daughter (Laura Linney) who gets
dangerously close to the investigation not necessarily for her own good.
Rounding out the film's cast is veteran character actor E.G. Marshall as a
billionaire and political king maker. It's his wife who is murdered.
Oscar winning screen writer William Goldman ('All the President's Men')
is credited with this clever screenplay based on the novel by David Baldacci.
What makes 'Absolute Power' so enjoyable to a large extent is seeing
Eastwood gradually move into parts that fit his age. He is well seasoned in
this film (Eastwood is 66)
and he doesn't perform any silly physical stunts and the film isn't filled
with unnecessary violence. Instead it relies on heightened scenes of keeping
the audience guessing what's to come next.
This is a smart film brimming with conniving wit that manages to remain
highly entertaining and credible throughout its entire running time.
Copyright © 1997 Walter Frith