Power ★★★

Quickie Review 
It’s more addictive than any drug. More seductive than sex. More precious than gold. And one man can get it for you...for a price. From director Sidney Lumet comes this serviceable but ultimately toothless drama that is bolstered by an all-star cast led by Richard Gere as Pete St. John, an image consultant who has a reputation for making and breaking political careers just by using the force of media. After a longtime client, Senator Sam Hastings (E.G. Marshall), announces that he’s stepping out of the senate seat, Pete is rapidly hired to work with the man groomed to replace Hastings, the mysterious Jerome Cade (J.T. Walsh). Gere is supported by a top supporting cast: aside from Marshall and Walsh, you have Julie Christie, Gene Hackman, Kate Capshaw, Beatrice Straight and the Greatest Actor Of All Time Period™️, Denzel Washington (interestingly enough, in the trailer, Hal Douglas pronounces it as Denzil, not Denzel). Their performances elevate what is otherwise a not-quite-biting-enough political drama that Lumet wants to be to the ‘80s what Dog Day Afternoon and Network was to the ‘70s but is instead confused about its intentions. It doesn’t know if it wants to be a satire or a thriller or both and it can be difficult to pin down exactly what it’s supposed to be. Ultimately, it’s the performances of its ensemble and Lumet’s decent direction that keeps the movie watchable in spite of itself. Power may not be as flawless or classic as Lumet’s previous films but it has enough merit to keep your attention.