Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (110)
| Top Critics (29)
| Fresh (39)
| Rotten (71)
Are there any Mark Felts left, and when will they stand up? "Mark Felt" is asking that question just as much as it's honoring its subject, but it's not telling anyone to hold their breath.
The cast is first-rate, notably Neeson in the title role. "Mark Felt" benefits mightily from his very particular set of acting skills.
Filmed in bleak green-gray hues, writer-director Peter Landesman's movie depicts D.C. as a nest of vipers, of conspiracies within conspiracies, of paranoia begetting paranoia.
The film has all the subtlety of a term paper, even if the earliest scenes suggest otherwise.
The furtive figure history knows best as Watergate snitch Deep Throat gets a movie treatment more suited to the printed page than the big screen.
Landesman has wrangled a murderer's row of character actors here - Tom Sizemore! Ike Barinholtz! Michael C. Hall! Bruce Greenwood! - but his script and direction lack a distinct killer instinct.
Never achieves much tension, but Neeson's great.
It is well made, with a great cast, but it just feels too conventional with very little insight into its title character.
A deliberately paced affair, slow sometimes to a fault but also simmering away ready to boil over at any moment, awash with a sense of paranoia and intrigue.
Despite suffering greatly from being far too expositional, still manages to somehow get under your skin and is likely to stay with you long after the credits have rolled.
Liam Neeson, clearly having trouble stepping back from action-thriller mode, isn't brilliant as Felt.
Felt, the grandee who became the informer known as Deep Throat, is played by a rigid Liam Neeson in a bad wig; no room is found for humour or pithy period details.
Liam Neeson is fine in the role of Mark Felt, and the subject matter itself is deeply intriguing, but is dealt with in such an odd way. Bad odd. It is essentially a sequence of disparate scenes with no connective tissue other than that they are about the same conspiracy, which unfolds very quickly in a straight line with no consequences felt... Felt... Ohhh. I see what I did there.
Maybe for a diehard political biopic fan this could be the way to go, or someone who wasn't aware Watergate ever happened and wanted some hard and fast facts, but for me, it was only okay.
We've seen this story before, the efforts to uncover the Watergate scandal and its sloppy cover-up from the perspective of Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein who tirelessly collected clues, followed leads, and investigated the facts. That movie was All The President's Men and was terrific. This movie is all about Mark Felt, the man who was the "Deep Throat" confidential informant, and it's a bit less than terrific. It's hardly even a movie because Felt's story just isn't that interesting. The film offers little new insights into Felt as a character or his personal struggles working against his own government. The FBI director is portrayed like a glowering Bond villain. The other characters come in and out, leaving little impact except to remind you that they're famous. Felt's personal life is also a bore, including Diane Lane in a thankless role as his alcoholic wife distraught over Felt being passed over as the new FBI director. He also has a missing daughter who ran off to a commune. There's one moment where Felt feels paranoid and tears apart his office, but then we simply move on. There's not enough here to justify a full-fledged movie. Whatever writer/director Peter Landesman (Concussion) does it's not enough to make this story interesting, and that's because Felt's involvement in Watergate is minimal at best. All the President's Men was about journalists uncovering the evidence and putting together the pieces. This movie is just about a guy who knows everything and has to get it out there. It's inherently less interesting. Even the subtitle of The Man Who Brought Down the White House seems misinformed; I'm fairly certain that was Nixon. The Mark Felt story was told better when he was merely a minimal figure in someone else's Watergate story. Just watch All the President's Men instead.
Nate's Grade: C
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