An excerpt from my script review for All the President’s Men which will be available 02/20/17:

2.) Plot Stability

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

(If anyone’s interested, this film is currently streaming on HBO GO.)

Holy. Shit.

For those of you not following current events, there are allegations of President Trump and his campaign staff having “unusual” ties with Russia.

On top of that, there are also allegations that Russia hacked the DNC emails, leaking Secretary Clinton’s “less than stellar” emails via Wikileaks.

Okay…conspiracy theories, maybe, and I’m not here to argue what is true and fake news, but Holy Shit the similarities!

The way the Nixon staff handles being questioned by Woodward and Bernstein about Watergate? Definite parallels, and this was written FORTY YEARS before President Trump was elected.

One line from the film that strikes a chord watching the news, page 31:

WOODWARD
I never asked them about Watergate.
I only said what were Hunt’s duties
at the White House? They
volunteered that he was innocent
when nobody asked (if) he was guilty.

Compare that, and other missteps with the Nixon staff handling Watergate, with the “fake news” arguments and the really strange defense of Vladimir Putin.

But maybe I’m reading too much into it…

Back to screenwriting!

What did this script do well?

Similar to my review of Spotlight, the narrative unfolds as a real investigation, almost like putting a puzzle together.

Woodward starts out with the corner pieces, discovering there’s a bigger picture to Watergate than a simple break-in.

Bernstein comes on board, and together, they’re outlining the whole thing, slowly working their way into the middle, piece by piece.

They, and us as the audience, are never given a large chunk of information, just a hint here, offhand remark there, and it’s fun. We want to know MORE!

After reading, I had my wife watch the movie with me last night.

She kept interrupting, asking about this and that, and I simply remarked, “Keep watching.”

The fact that she was asking the questions meant she was engaged, and having an engaged audience is great.

Make your characters WORK for it! That builds tension!

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