Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House, C
Rated PG-13, 103 minutes
The bland new drama "Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House" tells the story of the man behind Deep Throat, who helped bring down the presidency of Richard Nixon in 1974. With an all-star cast, "Mark Felt" is well-acted, but considering its subject matter, it lacks gravitas and feels like a stale reading of Felt's Wikipedia page.
Lifelong G-Man Mark Felt, aka "Deep Throat," (Liam Neeson) leaks information to The Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein that helps to uncover the Watergate scandal of 1974 and forcing the resignation U.S. President Richard Nixon in the process.
The sluggishly mediocre "Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House" could've easily been a TV miniseries on the History Channel. It's directed and written by "Concussion's" Peter Landesman, and based on multiple sources, including books written by Mark Felt himself. Outside of a memorably commanding turn as Felt from Neeson, "Mark Felt," which is essentially "All the President's Men" told from a reverse angle, is a forgettable history lesson that deserves a better script and tighter direction.
Landesman has way too many characters in his unfocused script, and taking cues from "The Butler," there's a large, all-star cast of characters playing each, and many get such scant screen time they don't have a real chance to register. Tom Sizemore ("Saving Private Ryan") and Martin Csokas ("The Equalizer") have a few good moments as rival FBI agents, but lost in the fray among others, is "Scandal's" Tony Goldwyn, "Dexter's" Michael C. Hall, "Grey's Anatomy" Kate Walsh, not to mention comedian Wendi McLendon Covey as Felt's secretary and character actor Bruce Greenwood as a Time magazine correspondent. Particularly wasted is the usually terrific Diane Lane, stuck here in a one-note ("honey, just resign") role as Felt's wife.
By the last act, it loses even more steam when it focuses on Felt's wayward daughter Joan ("The Guest's" Maika Monroe), something that has little to do with the proceedings at hand. Fortunately, one good thing that Landesman does do is not have another actor portray such as iconic figure as Nixon, who appears as himself in archival TV footage. It's also clear from the film that Felt's motives were sort of a professional revenge, though it in fact affected an entire nation.
"Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House" is a mediocre, watered-down look at a powerful figure who took on and down the presidency. It's worth seeing for Neeson's strong turn as Felt, who holds the uneven film together, and little else.
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