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absolutepower.jpg (45694 bytes)
click for full sized poster

Absolute Power

Starring Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, and Ed Harris
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Screenplay by William Goldman
Adapted from the novel by David Baldacci

As always, Cranky makes no comparison to the source material.

Cranky is pleased to point your attention to a most worthy flick. Absolute Power is the ultimate man against the mob flick, the mob in this case being the power of, and loyalty of Secret Service agents assigned to, the President of the United States. That's nothing you couldn't figure out from the television commercial.

Absolute Power is also a great "man in the wrong place at the wrong time" story.

Clint Eastwood takes the lead, as he has in many of his films, as Luther Whitney. Whitney is a retiring, and close to retirement, burglar. That term doesn't do the profession justice. Luther has chosen as his final target the mansion owned by billionaire Walter Sullivan (E.G. Marshall). He knows the house is empty, as the old man has taken the family and all the servants away on vacation, as he always has in the past. This time, however, the wife stays behind for a liason, and the sex gets more than rough -- it is strongly hinted that it had been rough in the past. No, this time it gets brutal and violent. It is actually an uncomfortable process to sit through it in a movie seat. Eastwood doesn't hold back, and his actors (Melora Hardin as the doomed wife) don't appear to either.

Add to the mix Judy Davis as the President's Chief of Staff, and Scott Glenn and Dennis Haysbert as Secret Service Agents who find themselves in a mess way messier than anything they ever learned at cop college. Laura Linney plays Luther's estranged daughter, and you can figure out her part in the rest of the story without my telling you.

If you think like I do, you see it coming a mile ahead. That's about the only place you will. The screenplay is by William Goldman, the name given to novice screenwriters when they want to read well written scripts. Cranky knows. I've been told it more than once. The obvious, almost by the book, plot point that I'm dancing around is too obvious for Goldman to have inserted on his own. I hope. Be that as it may, there is so much more to the cat and mouse game played between Luther and the lackeys of Presidential power to keep you interested, that such an obvious ploy is easily overlooked. It is also to Eastwood and Linney's credit that their relationship is so interesting to watch as it grows and changes throughout the course of the film.

But perhaps being obvious is the point. There is a delightful scene in which the police detective (Ed Harris) questions Luther for the first time, and Luther answers each question about how the burglary could have been committed honestly. Wait for it. It is a joy.

On the other hand, there are such stop-you-in-your-tracks faux pas as an additional conspirator who appears and disappears solely to raise the tension levels, and a killing and escape from the middle of a crowded hospital which strains credibility.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Absolute Power, he would have paid . . .

$6.00

A lesser cast couldn't have pulled it off. But so what? It was fun.

Click to buy films by Clint Eastwood
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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.