All the President's Men ★★★

A bit weird to see this after Spotlight and hearing that this is far superior. Perhaps it is, but it's so obsessed with the procedural aspect of its story. Woodward and Bernstein are only what they do. We see them tapping away at their typewriters and calling people on the phone for pretty insignificant pieces of information instead of having them reflect on what it all means to them.

Perhaps being awesome at your job was enough to make a person interesting back then, but it's not very pleasurable dramatically. They do a lot of tedious digging to get their story, and it's pretty tedious watching them do it. It's obviously made for a contemporary audience (obviously everything is, but sometimes it's more important) as a bunch of names are dropped without context because the characters and viewers know who they are. Lacking a connection to those names sucks some of the impact out of the juicy revelations about who had access to what account.

All those things are potentially good, especially with solid acting and slick visuals. Leaving it up to the viewer to decide what this story means may be better than letting characters spell it out. And letting me read up on the prerequisites is probably better than shoehorning that info into the movie. But now that Spotlight did a similar thing more palatable for those of us not fascinated by typewriter-tapping it's hard to fully appreciate it on a first viewing.