Kinotherapy’s review published on Letterboxd:
The biggest political scandal of the 20th century is documented in how it was brought to light, by the two daring, risk-taking, investigative journalists, who took on the higher powers.
"All the President's Men" details the true story of how two journalists uncovered Nixon's famous Watergate scandal and brought it to the publics attention. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman play Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein respectively, as they challenge their bosses, their leaders and the public in risking their careers to unravel a presidential crime of treason. Gordon Willis also supplies his unique touch of dark tone cinematography to accentuate the crime and dread of this massive conspiracy.
The film is mostly a recount of Woodward, and Bernstein, talking with informants, meeting with their editors, typing what they're going to write, yet the film is never boring. You know that these men have found something big, and you want to see them expose the lies and corruption that country is harvesting. Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford bring their roles to life and make them feel like the real Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein respectively. Every inch they uncover, every informant who reveals something, every document they dust off from the past, each step combines into only a small victory in the grand scheme of the exposition. I believe that's the genius of the writing and pacing here, is that you're invested in this giant conspiracy, you want to see what happens, you want to see these two expose the corruption, yet for these two, it's one step forward, two steps back. Every time they find something else it's dismissed again and our heroes are back to starting from scratch. I especially love the scenes with Deep Throat in which Gordon Willis's strong shadows cinematography shine (or should I say dims) in this scene. It creates both mystery and suspense, communicating to the audience, that this goes deeper and more sinister than you might think. This isn't some health violation, Woodward and Bernstein could actually be in mortal danger! But of course this is probably the most famous scene from the film anyway "Follow the Money"
What I find interesting is just how long it took our hero journalists to complete their story and just how hard it was for them to do it. Not that they couldn't find evidence, oh believe me they found plenty of that! However given the power that President Nixon, or any president has over the media and other political cronies, it's difficult for any of that evidence to take any footing in their accusation. None of the evidence was striking enough, despite the amount of facts they found should be no coincidence, but none of it directly proved Nixon to be involved. "Follow the Money" I think this is what so few people understand about politics, impeachment, or criminalizing a president. I hate to go on a Trump rant here, but his situation is identical to what's happening to Nixon. Not to mention plenty of past presidents have committed crimes too, so why aren't they all in jail? Two words: Money and Power. Trump was already filthy rich before his presidency, after he was inaugurated, he became untouchable. Do you know what kind of lawyers he can get? They will perform miracles for him. "Follow the Money"
And this is why it took over two years to get Nixon impeached. The people defending him probably didn't even like him, but they got paid. Therefore they'll cover up crimes of privacy gladly for a hefty check. "Follow the Money"
One criticism I have with the film is that it needed a little more character development. Redford and Hoffman brought a lot of mannerisms and characterization to their roles making up for this, but still, the story never lets you catch your breath from all the political turmoil they trudge through. Perhaps to make us feel how they did, but we don't learn much about Woodward or Bernstein. What are their home lives like, how are their families? What is their relationship like, do we ever see them bond? Unfortunately parts like these were missing from the film which I was hoping to see. The film is documenting a real life conflict but it's a dramatized narrative. If the film was a documentary I'd be lighter on this, but with a dramatic film I expect some kind of emotion. But this doesn't seem to bother other people. Like I said, Redford and Hoffman are excellent in their performances and bring much needed flare to these characters. Plus the investigative hole these two fall down is surprisingly fascinating and entertaining.
An important film in American History, not just for displaying the corruption at hand, but portraying why it's not an easy process. However in the midst of confusion, albeit two men were brave enough to stop at nothing and bring truth to the American people. And that's the moral I take away from this film. Don't stop fighting for truth, and don't stop doing the right thing.