Absolute Power Blu-ray Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 5.5
Video 6.5
Audio 8.0
Special Features   N/A
Total 5.0

Distributor: Warner Bros
Running Time: 121 Minutes
Reviewer: Simon Black
Classification
: M15+

5.0


Absolute Power

The partnership between Clint Eastwood and Warner Brothers has now spanned some 35 years and resulted in almost as many films, amongst them such classics as Dirty Harry, Sudden Impact and The Unforgiven as well as Eastwood’s more recent blockbusters like Mystic River and Gran Torino. 

Absolute Power is amongst several Eastwood titles being released on Blu-ray in June.  The film boasts a stellar cast including Ed Harris, Laura Linney, Gene Hackman, Judy Davis and of course Eastwood, who also directed.  Based on the accomplished novel by David Baldacci, Absolute Power’s screenplay was penned by the legendary novelist and screenwriter William Goldman, who in addition to his numerous film scripts and dramatic works also wrote a little book called The Princess Bride, and the presence of masterful composer Lennie Niehaus lends further cache to an already star-studded feature. 

With such an impressive pedigree the film couldn’t help but be brilliant, right? Well, not exactly.  Barely recouping its budget of $50 million, the film received a decidedly lukewarm reception from critics and currently holds a modest 46% approval rating on the aggregate review site Rotten Tomatoes. 

Things get off to a highly promising start.  Eastwood stars as Luther Whitney, a master jewel thief intent on one final score before retirement.  He breaks into the home of the elderly but extremely powerful billionaire Walter Sullivan (E.G. Marshall), but before the heist can be completed he is surprised by the return of Sullivan’s trophy wife (The Office’s Melora Hardin) and one of her numerous lovers.  Taking refuge in a huge mirrored closet the ex-con inadvertently witnesses the woman’s murder, and a lethal game of cat-and-mouse subsequently ensues between Whitney, police and the Secret Service, who are wiling to go to desperate lengths in order to keep the killer’s identity under wraps.  

After this adept and tersely-executed opening, with its unmistakable echoes of Hitchcock and David Lynch, the plot sadly veers onto some unlikely, not to mention downright loony territory.  Murderous G-Men, a psychotic White House Staffer (Davis), a middling Hackman and other assorted cartoon characters vie for screen time, and the film’s several plot holes grow increasingly crater-sized as the story unwisely deviates from what was, in novel form, a well-structured and markedly more plausible premise. 

The film’s saving grace is Ed Harris, who puts in a predictably convincing performance as the Detective in charge of the investigation, and Linney is likewise excellent as Whitney’s estranged daughter Kate, a successful prosecutor in her own right.  Niehaus’s accomplished score is alternately moody and melodious, Goldman’s screenplay solid and Eastwood’s direction is, at times, inspired.

Unfortunately however the film fails to live up to its potential, and as suspension of disbelief turns to downright incredulity any impact it may have had is ultimately diluted to near-nothingness.  

Absolute Power, like the other Eastwood efforts seeing the light of day on HD this month, is affordably priced at around $15-20.  Picture quality is again slightly grainy, which seems to be a recurrent problem with Warner Brothers’ Blu-ray releases, though the DTS-HDMA 5.1 soundtrack is superb.  As with the other Eastwood outings there are no bonus features, and given the negligible improvement in video quality fans of the film might want to stick with the DVD release, which is available for next to nothing and contains a couple of extras in the form of behind the scenes notes, cast profiles and so on. 






 
 



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