Monday, February 16, 2009

Drill 2: Feb. 17

Before watching All The President's Men, I really was not looking forward to spending a couple of hours watching a thirty year old movie. And I especially did not expect a movie about journalism to be entertaining. However, by the end of the movie, I was able to understand why All The President's Men received four Academy Awards.
While watching this movie, the viewer gains an exclusive vantage point - that of the journalist. Since the viewers are consumers of newspapers such as the on one portrayed in the movie, The Washington Post, it is a completely different and fascinating experience to watch Woodward and Bernstein put the pieces of this gigantic puzzle of a story together. Also, I appreciate being able to see exactly how the news office is run. Every aspect of getting the story - being assigned to a story, gathering information, finding, manipulating, coercing, and extracting vital information from sources, taking notes, typing the story, and having it edited, criticized, and doubted - allows the viewer to gain more knowledge of and, in my case, more respect for news journalists and their duties.
Not only do we see the workings of the office, but we see how the story is constructed. The editors of The Washington Post along with Woodward emphasize the value and necessity of facts, confirmed and creditable sources, and substantial information in regard to writing a publishing a good story. Undoubtedly, with technological advancements such as computers and the internet, cell phones, and navigational systems, the job of a journalist in the twentieth century and his counterpart in the twenty-first century are quite different. And because things such as the typewriters and payphones were used during those times, it is amazing that Woodward and Bernstein were eager and willing to put so much time and effort in to finding and exposing the truth.
Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman do an exceptional job portraying the energy and enthusiasm of their respective characters, Woodward and Bernstein. Because the two actors are so excited, the viewer becomes excited as well. From the break in at the Watergate building at the beginning of the movie until the news headlines at the end, my curiosity is captured and my attention is under arrest. Parallel to the two main characters, I want to know exactly what the inside story is. I want to figure out precisely why most of the sources are so afraid to talk and share information. When they have knocked on numerous doors and have had them along with hope closed to them, I feel Woodward and Bernstein's frustration and disappointment. When they are able to convince sources to give them the information that they need and desire so badly, I feel the joy and feelings of accomplishment of the two reporters. When Woodward is meeting with Deep Throat in the dark and secluded parking garage, his fear, anxiety, bewilderment, and paranoia become my own.
Essentially I fully experience the plight of these two hard working journalists. I become a part of the frenzy. I delight in the thrill of the chase. I want to know exactly what activities are taking place, of what magnitude these activities are, and which persons are involved in them. This movie affords the audience a rare and intriguing glance into the world of a news journalist. And All The President's Men succeeds in not highlighting the Watergate scandal, but instead, emphasizing how the Watergate scandal was exposed to the American public.

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