I was really excited to find out what Mark Felt up. Okay, I was just excited to make that junior high level joke but I did figure it would be a compelling story of the other side of Watergate. Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down The White House is no All the President’s Men, perhaps best illustrated in the seen where Felt meets a Bob Woodward who doesn’t hold a candle to Robert Redford. Not the actor’s fault, writer/director Peter Landesman decided to recreate a scene from a superior film.
Mark Felt (Liam Neeson) was Watergate source Deep Throat but it goes back before Nixon. When J Edgar Hoover died, there were changes at the FBI and Mark Felt did not approve. This is what led him to notice the egregious corruption from the new administration and decide to do something about it.
It’s not that I expect any Watergate movie to be as good as All the President’s Men. That would be unfair, but that classic shows that it’s possible to craft facts into a compelling mystery. Mark Felt may have been meticulously researched and gotten all the facts right, but there’s no sense of mystery or drama. Felt stands stoic looking down on shady FBI guys. He has the best suits and the best posture. It’s easy to believe in Neeson’s righteous nobility but it still feels like they’re just discussing things that happened off camera.
There’s really no new information in Mark Felt. It just confirms the name of the man who was Deep Throat. There are a lot of other names of white guys in suits to keep track of too. It’s hard to follow the trail and we already know this story. Perhaps that is accurate to the complexities of an internal FBI investigation but if so that only shows that Woodward and Bernstein were the interesting side of this story.
Landesman could have a Tell the Truth franchise going here. Will Smith became a meme for saying it in Concussion and Felt says it too. Felt adds, “Tell the truth. No one can argue with the truth.” Wonder what he’d think of the post-fact world. As much as I had problems with Mark Felt I agree with the sentiment and Franchise Fred would approve a Tell the Truth trilogy or continuing franchise. Maybe they should paraphrase the storytelling adage, “Show, Don’t Tell The Truth.”