The Hunting of the President (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hunting of the President (2004)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Though this doc has an obvious partisan bias, it presents a compelling case.

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Movie Info

From the best-selling book by journalists Gene Lyons and Joe Conason comes The Hunting of the President, a documentary by filmmakers Harry Thomason and Nickolas Perry. Going back to Bill Clinton's time as Governor of Arkansas and tracing through his impeachment while President of the United States, the Morgan Freeman-narrated film attempts to shed light on the alleged organized campaign to topple the charismatic statesman. Along the way, Thomason and Perry attempt to explore on a more general level the effect and influence of the media and slander-machines on contemporary politics. Interviews with such contrasting figures as James Carville and Jerry Falwell are included alongside never-before-seen Clinton-era footage. The Hunting of the President premiered at a special screening during the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

Cast

Critic Reviews for The Hunting of the President

All Critics (57) | Top Critics (24)

For a movie that desperately wants to be jazzy and light on its feet, it's sadly heavy-handed.

September 16, 2004
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

What comes across most strongly is how utterly trivial so much of this story now seems. Can we really have spent all that time, money and energy chewing over a land deal and worrying about a presidential dalliance?

September 3, 2004
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Marred by juvenile editing tricks and a relentless advocacy tone on behalf of Clinton, the film is like a scent of incense that takes you back in time, but leaves out meaning or context.

Full Review… | September 3, 2004
Denver Post
Top Critic

Offers a lesson for both parties about what can happen when powerful forces unite to bring down a politician.

September 2, 2004
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

There's wit, revelation and mercifully, more about Whitewater than Monica Lewinsky.

Full Review… | September 2, 2004
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Feels defensive and belated.

Full Review… | August 12, 2004
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Hunting of the President

I was not aware while it was going on that most of the things Clinton was being investigated for were such Bullshit. This film is incredibly intriguing. Watch this film and you will see as I did that Kenneth Starr is one of films great villains.

Freddy Gompf
Freddy Gompf
½

Interesting for Those Who Wouldn't Be Interviewed When I started at Evergreen in 1998, one of my new friends informed me, in grave tones, about the murders Clinton had been responsible for back in Arkansas, when he was governor. They sounded so over-the-top that I simply couldn't believe they would possibly be true. I didn't argue the point, though, because I didn't know enough about it. In the years since, I have become steeped in conspiracy theory. I know at least a dozen groups who killed JFK. I know about the explosive re-bar planted at the WTC. (Oh, don't you wish I were making that up?) I know about the wheat we traded to the Soviets so they wouldn't rat us out about Apollo. I know now where to research the bogus claims, and I know now how obvious some of them are. I'm also, I think, less polite on the subject. Heck, at the time, the only conspiracy theories of which I was aware were the Kennedy ones. To be fair, there couldn't be WTC ones yet, because it [i]was[/i] 1998. But I didn't know, couldn't imagine, that people honestly doubted the Moon landings. The funny thing was that my friend still actually liked Clinton quite a lot and didn't understand the Lewinsky thing any better than I did. I suspect every politician, no matter their stance, has a group of crazies who want to do whatever they can to bring them down. Look at the crazy "Obama is a secret Muslim who isn't even a US citizen" people. (Yes, I actually know one of those.) However, I think Clinton is where they really started getting going on a national scale. It's the ease of communication, I guess. At any rate, the extreme right wing took a real estate scandal where no one ever really proved wrongdoing and turned it into a media circus that involved a sex scandal the special counsel wasn't even supposed to be investigating. Oh, sure. Clinton lied under oath on the subject, though I just read an interesting legal argument that it wasn't actually perjury. (Turns out it only counts as perjury if the lie is at all relevant to the case.) The man was not perfect, but there were a lot of people who had small, petty reasons to go after him in the way they did. Now, you may have noticed a slight left-wing bias in my reviews. I won't deny it. What would be the point? But I'd like to think that there are Republicans out there who consider the whole thing a waste of public funds--and time. Just as I, in fact, think it's an abuse of power for any boss to have that kind of relationship with any employee, and how much worse when that boss is as powerful as Clinton was. It's hard for the employee to be at all objective in that situation. And if they'd gone after him on that, I might have had more sympathy for the cause. Other than that, though I think the whole thing was only really the business of three people--Bill, Hillary, and Monica. The fact that it suddenly wasn't, I think, has a lot to do with a changing perception of how much privacy the President has and a peculiar American morality. It also, let's be honest, made the man an awfully easy target. The man is no dummy. He is just, at times, lacking in some basic common sense. The film itself also has a slight left-wing bias. No one will ever doubt that, not least because the special features on the DVD include a segment of Clinton himself speaking at the premiere of the thing. However, in the credits, it lists people they requested interviews with who denied them. It's amazing how many of the names are of figures who spent eight years fighting Clinton, actively trying to get him out of office. Or, if not the full eight, a [i]very[/i] vocal fraction thereof. I like to think that shows balance of another kind, though I've no doubt people will disagree with me on the subject. I do, however, think the film did a good job of showing how intense the Republican drive was. They claimed the investigation was "independent," but if you look at the names and backgrounds of those involved, it appears that "independent" is a synonym for "Republican." As with most politically themed movies, I doubt this will actually change anyone's mind about anything. Except possibly one thing. In certain circles, I think Clinton has a reputation as someone who coasted on charm. Not unlike the reputation of our last President, frankly. However, if you sit and watch that segment of Clinton talking, it's very obvious that he knows a heck of a lot about history and politics. He doesn't come off as scripted--in fact, he response to at least one person in the audience, and unless he's pulling a Uri Geller, that can't be scripted. However, he is able to make clear points with historical background seemingly on the fly. Our Presidents have all been scripted for an awfully long time. The good ones, the best-spoken ones, are often the ones whose notes you can see on various drafts of speeches making slight alterations--but it becomes very clear that the speech as a whole was written by someone else. The last President who famously wrote all his own words was Lincoln; the office of Presidential speechwriter hasn't been around much past that. But it's clear that Clinton can talk well. It's clear that his education made an impression on him.

Edith Nelson
Edith Nelson

Its a well made documentary and it makes some valid points to be sure but of course it is terribly one sided so I suppose it depends what side of the issue you fall on. The best part id the special feature with CLinton talking for 40 minutes...an Evening with Bill Clinton would certainly be an awesome idea haha.

Jason Hartman
Jason Hartman

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