Absolute Power

Bomb Rating: 

Master thief Luther Whitney (Clint Eastwood) establishes the basis for his heroics in a crucial scene. He's already witnessed the President's (Gene Hackman) involvement with a murder, and the efforts of his chief of staff (Judy Davis) and Secret Service agents (Scott Glenn, Dennis Haysbert) to cover it up. So, he's standing next to a television watching the President console his friend (E.G. Marshall) - the guy whose wife he helped kill. Lo and behold, our master thief reveals that he has, believe it or not, a conscience!

What a great example of cinematic fence-jumping. Where's the Dirty Harry we've all come to know and love? Shoot first, ask questions later, Clint. Remember? Suddenly, Clint has got to steady his moral compass. Of course, if he doesn't the film is over, because he's about to leave the country. Let's see: leave the country with millions of dollars, or risk life and limb to right the moral scales of the universe?

Not surprisingly, as Luther uses a little creative sleuthing to solve the country's problems while a cop (Ed Harris) is on his tail, he's also got to make things right with his estranged daughter (Laura Linney). This is because all criminals ever have is estranged relatives, and settling familial problems is always one of their primary goals in life -- especially when they're being chased by men with very accurate firearms.

Frankly, I think this whole "Bridges of Madison County" fiasco has made Clint soft. He ought to check into a rest home where he can needlepoint pictures of baby ducks and stop exposing his touchy-feely side in public.

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lrbloom's picture

The problem here is not with "The Bridges of Madison County" or his softer side, but back when "Unforgiven" and "In The Line Of Fire" came out and suddenly Clint began portraying these tough guy over the hill types. Unlike "Unforgiven" or "Line of Fire" the storyline here is ridiculous. Clint as an aging gunfighter or aging secret service agent was interesting. In both cases the main character simply does his job; what he knows best. In "Unforgiven" the main character knows how to kill better than anything else and does so to avenge his friend's killing. Frank Horrigan of "In The Line of Fire" does what he does best which is to protect the president. In fact he seems to do so better than the everybody else. The problem with "Absolute Power" isn't Luther Whitney, aging thief but that the story is ridiculous. The other 2 movies I've mentioned have the main character dealing wih his past demons such as alcoholism or divorce or death or both and struggling to go forward without falling prey to the same things again and in effect redeeming himself in the long run. In "Absolute Power" the problem is that whatever Luther has done in the past, present or future doesn't even come close to what the other charcters have done. Luther is merely a burglar, not a murderer. In other words, it isn't Luther Whitney's soul that needs redemption. It's the President's and his staff (and whoever wrote this script). Luther isn't the bad guy here, so for Luther to feel any concern for the corrupt government officials is not the point. There isn't any story line here that can possibly resolve itself with anyone feeling redeemed. In other words, Luther would have to admit that he is a burglar who broke into the Presidents' home to steal and witnessed a murder in the process which happened when the president's mistress didn't want to play kinky sex games and reached for the letter opener after being slapped once too often. Who, of course would take the word of some common thief, and of course the president can't come forward and press any charges against Luther without a really good attorney wanting to know what if anything Luther saw on the same night that the mistress was murdered. The ideal way to have ended this is for everybody to just cover for everybody else and as for the mistress she should have known better than to become involvedwith a married man, especially one who is the president and like to play kinky sex games. Nobody really gives a damn about her anyway - it's just that nobody can stand the idea of the other haveing somethig to blackmail the other with. So we say to hell with her and let rest and end the damn movie realistically with the idea that somebody got away with murder and somebody else knows and neither can do anything about it without incriminating himself. 

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