Tag Archives: Jack Warden

All the President’s Men (1976) Review

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All the President's Men

Time:  119 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Offensive language
Cast:
Robert Redford as Bob Woodward
Dustin Hoffman as Carl Bernstein
Jack Warden as Harry M. Rosenfeld
Martin Balsam as Howard Simons
Hal Holbrook as “Deep Throat”
Jason Robards as Ben Bradlee
Director: Alan J. Pakula

During the 1972 elections, two reporters’ investigation sheds light on the controversial Watergate scandal that compels President Richard Nixon to resign from his post..

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I’ve always known All the President’s Men as being “the one movie about Watergate”, and I remembered holding off on watching it because it was long, it was from the 70s and I didn’t know if I would be as into it despite the acclaim. However I did watch it, and was surprised at how good it was on pretty much every front.

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All the President’s Men is about the journalistic approach to the story, with Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in pursuit of the news story. The layers of the story are peeled back as the film goes on, revealing the truths about the Watergate Scandal. The writing is great and it really was key to the movie working. It is definitely a slow burn, so you do need to know that going in, but thankfully I found the story very compelling to follow. The scope of this story is large, and the script deserves a lot of credit for making this complex and dry tale accessible and easy to follow for audiences. At the same time, it approaches the subject matter without needlessly adding subplots or other aspects to spice up the movie. It almost plays like a detective story at times more so than a journalism story, and manages to mix dry fact with intrigue perfectly, making sure that we are engaged and never lose the plot. It really lets the audience feel like they’re putting together the pieces along with Woodward and Bernstein. The constant stream of information can occasionally be a little much, but the fact that it is quite accurate to true events and you can understand most of it is impressive. It is a procedural for sure, but probably one of the best procedural films ever. It does feel authentic in both the discoveries made as well as the journalistic process, and I like the amount of detail in what is said and what is shown on screen. For example, you get to see the way that Woodward and Bernstein play out how they try to get certain pieces of information, and how they interact with the people they are questioning; very well done and fascinating to watch. Every scene truly means something and has a reason for being there, despite the long runtime. A lot of the movie is dialogue and its great, especially with the deliveries from the cast. It keeps your attention for the entire runtime and each conversation is right to the point. The film is also surprisingly thrilling to watch at times, despite it being a movie about journalism. If there’s a criticism I have with the movie, it’s that the ending is a little too abrupt, that’s it though.

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The acting from everyone is also great, but it’s the two leads who drive the story and stand out the most. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman are incredible and invested in their roles of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and share great chemistry together. You get completely wrapped up in their motivations and they feel very natural in their parts, never overselling it. The supporting cast including Jack Warden, Jason Robards and Hal Holbrook also do work well in their parts.

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The movie is directed by Alan J. Pakula, and his work here is great, covering this story as effectively as possible with lots of visual and audio details in every scene. The cinematography conveys the scope and size of the story, with everything from landscape shots to shots of a simple phone call looking really good. The editing is quite efficient and gets you wrapped up in the story even with all the details being thrown at you. Pakula’s direction also does well as helping you feel the paranoia that the main characters feel as the story continues.

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All the President’s Men is an astonishingly well made film, efficiently directed, greatly performed by its cast, and with a fantastic script which makes what could’ve been a boring and dull movie, into an engaging and intriguing experience. Even though most of us already know what happens at the end, it was still compelling to watch this whole story play out. For sure one of the best movies about journalism.

12 Angry Men (1957) Review

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12 Angry Men

Time: 96 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] contains low level offensive language
Cast:
Martin Balsam as Juror 1
John Fiedler as Juror 2
Lee J. Cobb as Juror 3
E. G. Marshall as Juror 4
Jack Klugman as Juror 5
Edward Binns as Juror 6
Jack Warden as Juror 7
Henry Fonda as Juror 8
Joseph Sweeney as Juror 9
Ed Begley as Juror 10
George Voskovec as Juror 11
Robert Webber as Juror 12
Director: Sidney Lumet

When a Puerto Rican boy is on trial for the alleged murder of his father, 11 of the 12 jurors are quick to vote that he is guilty in an ostensibly straightforward case. The remaining juror, Juror #8 (Henry Fonda), seems sceptical about the evidence at hand and demands a thorough deliberation of the facts from each juror before sentencing the boy to death, to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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I remember that I watched 12 Angry Men for the first time many years ago and I remembered liking it. However, it had been a while since I had seen it, so I’ve been meaning to rewatch it for some time. Having finally rewatched it, I can say that I love it even more and it’s now one of my favourite movies. This is an incredibly made, entertaining and engaging film, written, directed and acted excellently, and is absolutely a must see.

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12 Angry Men is based off the play of the same name, and you can really feel that it’s based off a play, especially with the heavy focus on dialogue. While I’m not familiar with the original play, they seemed to have translated it very well to the big screen. It has a great script, with some well written dialogue, and it keeps you constantly engaged throughout. Even though you don’t learn most of the characters’ names, they are very memorable and distinctive (albeit with some receiving more characterisation and focus than others). Given the subject matter and how simple and straightforward the initial setup is, the movie could’ve been dry and uninteresting but it is very interesting and even entertaining. The movie really is driven by the dialogue, and it’s compelling to watch all of these characters’ discussions and debates on the centre issue. The way that 12 Angry Men sets up the plot at the beginning is actually brilliant. At the beginning of the movie, we never see the actual trial, and we only hear about the case through the jurors in the room that the movie takes place in 99% of the film. The film also has a lot to say thematically, including systematic racism and xenophobia, and much more than you’d expect going in. The plot is tightly paced across its 97 minutes yet with never a dull moment.

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There are 12 actors playing each of the jurors, and all of them do a fantastic job in their respective roles, bringing these scripted people to life with naturalness and sincerity. The most well-known of the actors is Henry Fonda in the lead role, playing the only juror who at the beginning believes that the defendant isn’t guilty, and he’s great in his part. The rest of the cast including Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E.G Marshall and Jack Warden also deserve as much praise as Fonda.

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Sidney Lumet’s direction was also a big reason of why the movie works so well, even though it’s not usually what comes to mind immediately to most people when they think of 12 Angry Men, compared to say the writing and acting. Lumet’s first feature film has great cinematography, and not just in the sense of looking flashy and stylistic, at first glance it’s pretty standard (albeit looking decent). However the use of blocking and focus (particularly on faces) is really effective. Additionally, lingering on certain moments, people and objects, not breaking the shot and letting things play out made some moments really made the scenes even better than they already were.

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12 Angry Men is an absolutely essential film to watch for sure. The writing is fantastic, the acting is phenomenal, and it’s directed greatly. At over 60 years old it remains an absolute and timeless classic, and can appeal to pretty much everyone, even if you’re not really into ‘old movies’, and is now firmly one of my favourite movies of all time. If it’s not a perfect film, at the very least it’s pretty close to it.