In Alan J Pakula’s ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN (1976) two journalists from the Washington Post bring down the President of the United States Richard Nixon by exposing his involvement in what has come to be known as the infamous Watergate Scandal in which the office of the Democratic National Committee was burgled in 1972 under the direction of White House employees. In their investigation into the mystery, the two journalists were helped by a shadowy figure who came to be known as the 'Deep Throat'. His identity was never revealed till 30 years later Mark Felt declared that it was he who – as the then FBI Deputy Director – passed on inside information to the two journalists.
In Peter Landesman’s MARK FELT: THE MAN WHO BROUGHT DOWN THE WHITE HOUSE (2017, US), it is Felt who is the protagonist and the entire sordid scandal is revealed through his eyes. Liam Neeson plays the eponymous role with a restrained flair, while the lighting and the background score evoke the mood of the period that goes well with the dark political thriller that it is set out to be.
A good weekend viewing to understand how ruthless politicians engage in their insidious games to manipulate perceptions, cheat and hold on to power. The contemporary resonance is very evident, the only difference being that in today’s times it is no longer possible to bring down a government through such an expose.
Streaming on Amazon Prime.
Ranjan das is a Mumbai based filmmaker and faculty.