Reviewed by: Dale Mason
A philandering President. A globe-trotting “first lady” with an agenda all her own. Loyal law enforcement officers who transgress the law in order to hide their leader’s scandalous actions. A White House staff member who commits suicide because he can no longer deal with the pent-up guilt he carries for his own part in covering up for the President…
It’s hard to believe that this big-budget, politically-incorrect drama even got made, let alone released to the theaters of America! With its amazing similarity to some of the most notorious headlines of the present presidency, the only thing missing was a booming narrator’s voice “…only the names have been changed, to protect the innocent.”
“Absolute Power” is a story about an extremely skillful and “respected” burglar (Clint Eastwood) who witnesses an illicit bedroom tryst which turns violent. He watches in disbelief from behind a one-way mirror as a seductive young women is suddenly murdered at the hands of America’s most powerful man (Gene Hackman) and his most loyal staff members.
It is also about a father who seeks to restore his relationship with his only daughter, a relationship crushed by his own actions many years earlier.
This script weaves three primary themes: betrayal, restoration, and “justice”. It is an eye-opening reminder that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Carefully crafted, it makes the “bad guy” look good (burglar/vigilante is the hero) and those who are normally trustworthy (Secret Service agents, the President of the USA, etc.) to appear unworthy of admiration.
Amazingly, “Absolute Power” probably would not even have made it into production just a few years ago. It simply does not engender respect for the office of the President. But, the writers seem to have observed national news reports carefully as they developed this script. “Absolute Power” is clearly based, in part, on the current social and political situation of the American presidency—a man faced with allegations of deceipt and sexual, political, and financial scandal. …Unfortunately, this production probably won’t have any truly beneficial effect on society. No other generation of American adults has been as apathetic about the “personal life” of their leader as the parents and grand-parents of the 1990's.
(Includes 9 profanities, near-rape sexual violence, blood spattering murder, and simulated oral sex—no nudity, but you know exactly what’s going on.)
Year of Release—1997 (February 14, 1997 wide)