Magazine article Newsweek

Absolute Power

Magazine article Newsweek

Absolute Power

Article excerpt

Eastwood's at the top of his 'Absolute Power'

LUTHER WHITNEY, THE perfectionist cat burglar played by Clint Eastwood in Absolute Power, is as meticulous in his craftsmanship as Vermeer, as adept at disguise as Alec Guinness, as elusive as Houdini, as solitary as a monk and, when he wants to be, as crestily charming as ... well, as Clint Eastwood has ever let himself be.

This veteran prince of thieves is pulling off his felonious masterpiece-cleaning out the manor of a rich Washington power broker--when unexpected intruders force him to hide behind a one-way mirror. There he witnesses a young woman and an older man engage in some drunken foreplay that turns rough, then nasty, then ends when two men in snits enter the room and blow the woman away. Unfortunately, Luther knows both participants. She was the wife of the tycoon he was robbing. The adulterous man (Gene Hackman) is the president of the United States. Oops.

The men with guns (Scott Glenn and Dennis Haysbert) are Secret Service agents, and the Machiavellian virago who now rushes into the bloody bedroom and starts cooking up the cover-up is Gloria Russell (Judy Davis), .the White House chief of staff. What's striking about the queasy, tense scene that Luther witnesses, as they concoct an outrageous story about a burglary attempt gone awry, is that it is also terribly funny.

There has never been a movie quite as deeply cynical about the leader of the free world as "Absolute Power. …

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