The country is in turmoil, the war at home and abroad rages on. The government and the President are involved in one of the biggest cover-ups in history. Many officials have either been given subpoenas or resigned, in lieu of jail. The White House finally admits their sins and then a President is forced to resign. This may sound like the times we are living through, but in reality, it is one of the most tumultuous times in US history. It is the Watergate cover up and the hero that brought down the White House was Mark Felt or “Deep Throat.”
Peter Landesman has succeeded in bringing an all star cast together to tell the tale of Watergate and the man who brought down Nixon. Liam Neeson leads the cast as the man who held the FBI’s secrets and was J Edgar Hoover’s right hand man. Felt also had his own secret and did everything he could to find answers to it. Felt remained loyal and faithful until Hoover’s death. Feeling that he is being edged out for Nixon’s men, Felt becomes the “voice” that tells all. Neeson brings it to the table with a very complex role. He is a traitor, but you also can’t help but root for him. Diane Lane accompanies Neeson as the dutiful wife who follows him from assignment to assignment. She shines when she is reunited with her daughter. Felt’s right hand man is Ed Miller played by a man who is no stranger to political roles, Tony Goldwyn. Goldwyn’s long career playing politicians ranges from Chief of Staff in “Pelican Brief” to his current role as Former President Fitzgerald T. Grant on ABC’s “Scandal.” Goldwyn’s authoritative presence is definitely noticed in the movie. There is also a bond between Miller and Felt that is conveyed very well by the two actors. Fellow “Shondaland” alumni and Piven standout, Kate Walsh charms as the fun loving Pat Miller. Broadway standout, Brian D’ Arcy James shines as Robert Kunkel. Marton Csokas captures the treachery of acting FBI director, Gray. Gray is Nixon’s pick for the replacement of Hoover following his death. ABC seems to be well represented also by Wendi McLendon Covey or the mom from hell on “The Goldbergs.” . She is the loyal secretary to Felt and seems to adjust to drama just fine. This is a good showcase for her as well. Josh Lucas is also a standout as the confused agent who was forced out , Charlie Bates. Bruce Greenwood and Noah Wyle round out the cast as Prosecutor Stan Pottinger and Time Magazine editor, Sandy Smith.
Neeson shows all facets of the character from the tough , loyal FBI agent to the father who is looking for his daughter. He has a very good chemistry with Goldwyn, almost reminiscent of the relationship he had with Steppenwolf’s Jeff Perry on “Scandal.” Lane shows the inner workings of a deeply troubled character who has embraced her position and money to make up for thinking she was a failure as a mother. Even though she is young, Maika Monroe goes straight for the heart as the young, hippie daughter of Felt. Bravo to costuming for this movie . They seemed to capture the fashion mode of the period very well. Some of the daughter’s clothes were so cute , I wanted to run out and get them for myself. The hairstyles for the period were right on point, except it seemed like Lane’s wigs were leftover from Scandal’s hairdresser for Bellamy Young.
Whether you were alive or just studied about the events in school, “Mark Felt” is the perfect movie for people who want to learn more about the “Watergate” scandal. It is also a great movie because it is a showcase for actors that the audience is very familiar with. Who hasn’t seen “Grey’s Anatomy” or “ER” or “Scandal?” It is no wonder that this movie was one of the standouts of the Toronto International Film Festival. So for an intense film that shows a different view of history, go and see it.