Absolute Power

February 14th, 1997


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Still of E.G. Marshall in Absolute PowerStill of Clint Eastwood in Absolute PowerChristian Slater at event of Absolute PowerStill of Clint Eastwood in Absolute PowerStill of Judy Davis in Absolute PowerStill of Gene Hackman in Absolute Power

A career thief witnesses a horrific crime involving the U.S. President.

Release Year: 1997

Rating: 6.6/10 (24,117 voted)

Critic's Score: 52/100

Director: Clint Eastwood

Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris

Based on the novel by David Baldacci, Absolute Power is about the ruthlessness of people in power. The President believes that everything he does is beyond reproach, including an affair or two. That leads to murder and everyone around him is involved. There is only one witness, a thief named Luther Whitney. They are sure he'll talk, but when? The Secret Service is determined to keep him quiet, but catching a thief isn't always easy.

Writers: David Baldacci, William Goldman

Clint Eastwood - Luther Whitney
Gene Hackman - President Allen Richmond
Ed Harris - Seth Frank
Laura Linney - Kate Whitney
Scott Glenn - Bill Burton
Dennis Haysbert - Tim Collin
Judy Davis - Gloria Russell
E.G. Marshall - Walter Sullivan
Melora Hardin - Christy Sullivan
Kenneth Welsh - Sandy Lord (as Ken Welsh)
Penny Johnson - Laura Simon
Richard Jenkins - Michael McCarty
Mark Margolis - Red Brandsford
Elaine Kagan - Valerie
Alison Eastwood - Art Student

Taglines: Corrupts Absolutely.


Official Website: Official site |

Release Date: 14 February 1997

Filming Locations: Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $50,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $16,770,220 (USA) (17 February 1997) (2568 Screens)

Gross: $50,007,168 (USA) (15 June 1997)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

E.G. Marshall's final appearance in a theatrical film.

Crew or equipment visible: When the Special Agents of the US Secret Service are pushing Kate off the cliff, a mechanical device is seen clearly pushing the car over the cliff.

Luther Whitney: This person, they... they go in the front door, then they go out a window and down a rope in the middle of the night?
[Seth nods]
Luther Whitney: If I could do something like that, I'd be the star of my A.A.R.P. meetings.

User Review

Great cast + Compelling plot = Mediocre movie (and why) *MILD SPOILER*

Rating: 5/10

Absolute Power featured an exceptional cast. Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Laura Linney, Judy Davis, E. g. Marshall - few movies boast better talent.

Absolute Power also involved a compelling scenario - Eastwood, a master thief, has staked out Marshall's house and is pulling a third story job involving a vault full of diamonds and money, when Marshall's wife and the president of the United States waltz into the bedroom intoxicated and frisky. Things get a little rough, and Hackman (the president) finally yells for help when the young woman tries to stab him, with a letter opener. The Secret Service blows the woman away and sets about cleaning up and covering up the crime. Eastwood, of course, witnesses the entire proceeding and manages to grab one important piece of evidence (the letter opener) before making good his escape. He then begins a cat and mouse game somewhere between the police, the secret service and his estranged daughter, who is unsure who to believe.

Absolute Power, despite its potential, was a disappointment. The characters were made believable by the phenomenal cast. Eastwood, Linney and Davis were outstanding at times. And the film has several tense and visually very interesting scenes which showed Eastwood's directorial talent nicely. From my perspective, the problem was somewhere between the script, the editing and the directing, but I am not sure exactly where. About 2/3rds of the way through the film, the Keystone Cops antics of the Secret Service members who are supposed to be "taking care" of the situation, are no longer believable, and neither is Eastwood' ability to be anywhere at any time without being detected. Further, when the end finally does come, it moves in pretty abruptly, as something of a less than interesting anticlimax, long after the plot has fully unraveled, and you are left wondering just how much of the script was edited out. In fact, the last half of the film seemed rushed.

Absolute Power is a plot heavy film. Less character-driven and less action oriented than most of its genre peers, the film relies on strong but underdeveloped performances, the likability of its antihero (Eastwood) and what could have been a very engaging string of scenarios culminating in a powerful conclusion. Plot heavy films can be good films if they stick to their heavy story-lines. However, and inexplicably, Absolute Power derails about half way through and never really gets back on track. Instead, none of these potentialities are explored fully and we are left with only petty revenge, a little misapplied justice, and the rebuilding of a relationship between the story's most likable characters (Linney and Eastwood). Yawn. An entertaining little show with a few really good moments, but nothing special.