'Absolute Power' no absolute winner
From Movie Reviewer Carol Buckland
February 14, 1997
Web posted at: 4:45 p.m. EST
(CNN) -- "Absolute Power" is an entertaining thriller that
pits a master thief against the minions of a corrupt U.S.
president. Clint Eastwood pulls double duty, directing as
well as starring.
The flick revolves around sex, presidential politics and
murder -- a wild premise based on the best-selling novel by
(782K/21 sec. QuickTime movie) - "Absolute Power" clip
(3.5M/1:38 sec. QuickTime movie) - "Absolute Power" trailer
In the movie, a veteran burglar, played by Eastwood,
witnesses a murder while trying to pull off the heist of his
The only problem: The killers are a pair of Secret Service
men (Scott Glenn and Dennis Haysbert) and the woman who was
slain was in the middle of a rough sex scene with the
president (Gene Hackman) when she was knocked off.
A cover-up ensues, thanks to the crafty work of the White
House chief of staff (Judy Davis). And in no time at all,
the cops, the Secret Service and a paid assassin are after
Unlike other action heroes who might try to resolve the dicey situation with bullets, brawn and macho bravado, Eastwood uses his character's brains, instincts and experience to elude the feds.
Acting-wise, Eastwood, 66, is in top form, particularly in
scenes with co-actor Ed Harris, who plays the straight-laced
homicide cop assigned to the murder.
Glenn and Haysbert put in fine performances as well, although neither of their characters fully develop. Hackman's performance as the adulterous chief executive is undercut by several utterly absurd sequences, most notably when he and Davis waltz around a White House party discussing the murder and cover-up.
Davis, incidentally, is a real disappointment -- doing little more than flouncing about and flaring her nostrils.
William Goldman's script is dotted with plot holes, but his
dialogue is cleverly crafted with a dark, humorous cynicism
Eastwood's no-nonsense direction works well in many scenes.
But his bare-bones approach in the presidential scenes look cheap and underpopulated. Director Eastwood also has problems sustaining the level of suspense. The final payoff: an off-screen fizzle.
"Absolute Power" is not a "must-see." But if you're looking for a well-made, grown-up movie, it's worth
your time and money.
The movie is rated R for its sexual content, violence and
Related site: Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.