In a week where a committee of MPs concluded that Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person” to exercise stewardship of a major international company, and the Leveson inquiry continues, this film review seemed rather apt…
This film tells the story of the journalists whose stories ultimately brought about the resignation of President Nixon.
When five men are caught breaking into the Watergate building, the National Democratic party headquarters, they are first thought to be burglars; but things appear strange from the outset and Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) of the Washington Post is sent to cover the story. Another journalist, Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) also wants in on the piece. When one of the “burglars” admits he works for the CIA, it is clear that the men were there to bug the offices. Leads point to important people in the White House and suspicions of Republican party research into Teddy Kennedy.
As certain names crop up, sources start to become more evasive and stories start changing. To make things worse for the journalists, the paper’s editor also offers resistance and does not give the story the prominence it deserves. Other newspapers start delving into the story, which ups the pressure even more, compounded by the fact that now no-one wants to talk at all. New leads finally highlight a money trail from the “burglars” to the fund-raising efforts for the Nixon re-election campaign. Is this really just one part of a massive sabotage campaign against the Democratic Party? Over the next two years all the main people featured in the Washington Post stories into the affair are found guilty of different crimes. President Nixon is found to be involved, and has to pay the ultimate political price.
This is stylish, quality film-making – featuring a strong cast, writer and director. The film takes you along on the journey, and keeps you enthralled all the way through, keeping the storyline clear and the pressure on – no mean feat. The film was made only a couple of years after the events and has aged well. If you have any interest in this period, this is definitely worth watching.