Richard Gere, Julie Christie, Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington star in director Sidney Lumet's thriller about political image making in our media manipulation age. Year: 1986 Director: Sidney Lumet Starring: Richard G... more »ere, Julie Christie, Gene Hackman, Denzel Washington« less
Ian Muldoon | Coffs Harbour, NSW Australia | 01/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe I just don't get it. But I've loved this film ever since I first saw it in the eighties, and was mesmerized and thrilled by the opening sequence of Mr Gere practising drumming on a practise drum skin to the music of Benny Goodman's version of SING SING SING with Gene Krupa drumming. An opening sequence does not a movie make, but I knew I was in for an exciting ride with Mr Lumet who has rarely failed to thrill me from his first film TWELVE ANGRY MEN, and thereafter with PRINCE OF THE CITY, THE ANDERSON TAPES, DOG DAY AFTERNOON, NETWORK et al. In POWER, part of the deal is to GO WITH IT, that is, willingly suspend disbelief and take the dramatic ride. For my own part the ability of Pete St John (Mr Gere) to manipulate public opinion and get politicians elected has more than a touch of truth about it and the relish with which St John does his job is fascinating to see - he's a professional without a principled bone in his being and Mr Gere (ironically a professed Budhhist) is brilliant , playing that character. He survives - one of the great lines he gives to his ex-lover (played by Ms Julie Christie) is "don't blame yourself". Those in the film who HAVE principles, either commit suicide (Senator played by the great Mr E.G. Marshall), descend into embarrassing alcoholism (Mr Hackman playing a rival media adviser wonderfully comic) or suffer the apparent loneliness and unremunerative fate of the loser (Ms Christie, though that might be stretching it a bit). I can't think of a parallel to this film but PRIMARY COLORS or NETWORK come close, although this film is superior to it. Mr Maltin, and I guess, many others, have got it badly wrong with this film, as I consider it one of the best political films of all time. It's a blast from beginning to end, fuelled by some of films greatest actors, including DENZEL WASHINGTON, superb set design, pungent writing, and great direction, not to mention GENE KRUPA's drumming. Then again, maybe I just don't get it."
If you like politics, you'll like this.
Ian Muldoon | 07/24/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This gets real technical when dealing with politics. I loved it! The cast is first rate (Gene Hackman is best), and the direction, deft (by veteran Sidney Lumet). If you want to to pay attention to details (or try to understand) it is rewarding. If you want a paranoia thriller, this ain't for you!"
With this star-power, you know it's gotta be good.
Ian Muldoon | 11/21/1998
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman, Richard Gere, JT Walsh and a host of other famous faces create an intense political picture. Gere is a political analyst/(person who makes a candidate look good) and he's running several campaigns. Gene Hackman is a nemesis, so-to-speak. Washington seems to meddling around in Gere's work and from there the abuse of power unfolds. This is a good film, I wouldn't say great due to long periods of slowness, but I do heartily reccommend this film."
I've got a flawed disc...
Paulo Leite | Lisbon, Portugal | 04/13/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I was loving this movie until, half-way through, the disc started to jam. I tried it on another player... and no dice. I complained to Amazon... who was kind enough to send me another one... and now I have two discs with the same problem.
I already tried this disc on three players and they all start jamming in the middle of the film.
Lumet's most underrated film.
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 02/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Power (Sidney Lumet, 1986)
Sidney Lumet will be forever remembered for his string of pictures in the seventies beginning with Serpico (1973) and running through, depending on your point of view, Prince of the City (1981) or The Verdict (1982). After that, conventional wisdom says, Lumet fell off a cliff until the mid-2000s. Me, I think he kept going for a bit afterwards. In fact, save Dog Day Afternoon, I've always thought that Power was Lumet's finest work.
It's the story of Pete St. John (Richard Gere), a Washignton, D.C. spin doctor. Not something you can really hang a movie on, you say? Boring? Oh, no. Not in the capable hands of Sidney Lumet. He grabs an all-star cast of St. John's clients, an all-star cast of their adversaries, installs Gene Hackman as St. John's previous mentor and current rival, and simply sits back and lets an election year unfold in Ohio (with a few detours to other states and a quick trip south of the border for spice). Add in star turns from then-rising stars Denzel Washington and D. B. Sweeney, and how can you go wrong?
Power manages to be a cautionary tale about political spin that never really feels like a cautionary tale; the script and the director are far more interested in these characters, all of whom are at least a touch crazy in the head, than they are stopping every two minutes to hand us message pap. As a result, this is one of the most effective movies of its type, when it comes to getting its message across. Sound like a paradox? It's not. Message filmmakers take note, this is what you want to be doing. Lumet's light touch and the actors' uniformly good performances make this one a gripping thriller, even while you're wondering when something's actually going to happen. It never does. This is not a movie where things blow up and cars chase each other. And yet somehow it's more absorbing than most action movies. You probably missed this one back in the day, and the DVD release a number of years ago got almost no publicity. Seek it out, especially if you're a Lumet fan. **** ½