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All The Presidents Men

Everyone knew the movie was going to be good. Two of the greatest actors of the century, four Academy awards and a multitude of other accolades; All the Presidents Men has already been deemed a bonafide classic. I could sense, however, that the most anticipated segment of the show was the discussion afterward with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the very men who inspired the film, broke the Watergate scandal and cemented their status as genuine journalistic royalty.

Even as the film progressed it only served to heighten the anticipation. Through the very beginning, the initial attraction of the two reporters to the case, through to the connections being made, the dots connected and we begin to realize just what a feat of journalistic genius these two men accomplished. The fact is, we know how the story ends, we know how the whole thing blows up, yet the process, the dogged investigative tenacity of the duo is astounding all the same.

Bernstein commented on this aspect of the film in following discussion. He said that the film “shows the process of reporting” as not just sitting in an office, calling numbers. It was “knocking on doors” and analyzing facts intensively. It was intriguing to see the duo comparing their real life experiences on the trail with the portrayal of the events in the film. Bernstein claimed that many components of the story were given more “weight” than real life, but this could easily be attributed to the format of film, and the tradition of Hollywood. A final segment of the discussion focused on the generational gap displayed in the film. ATPM is really a period piece, ripe with phone book rifling and cross country travel to conduct interview. Nowadays, journalists, many assume, can merely use one of the many technological advancements at our fingertips to set on the story. Woodward commented on this facet and claimed that “the methodology still works,” that hard investigative journalism is still warranted in todays society. He offered one final story to illustrate his point: A journalism professor at Yale, he said, asked his students to write one page on how they think the Watergate scandal would have broken nowadays. The responses, he claimed, could be summarized as follows: Go to Google and put in “Nixon secret fund.” Woodward sighed and said “I almost had an aneurism.” 5/5 Stars. -Will Mullany





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Posted in Virginia Film Festival on November 2, 2012

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