Federal Bureau of Investigation inquires, election scandals, Presidential corruption. Sound familiar? Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the Whitehouse, helps viewers relive a moment in history that today seems almost quant compared to current political shenanigans.
Mark Felt is better recognized as the FBI whistleblower, “Deep Throat,” responsible for exposing what became known as the “Watergate scandal,” which helped bring about the end of the Nixon Administration in the early-1970’s. Mark Felt, the movie, is timely, enjoyable and interesting. In it, Liam Neeson, starring as Felt, utters the notable line, “Mr. Nixon, I have a very particular set of skills…” and provides viewers with a look at the Watergate scandal from inside the FBI.
Set to a score that maintains a feeling of mounting breathlessness, the film follows Felt as he fights to preserve one of the most important intelligence operations in American history amidst growing White House corruption, censorship, and influence over the Bureau. The tension is amplified as Felt grapples with the FBI’s investigation into the Weather Underground counterculture group, including a Pentagon bombing, his own desperate search for his daughter, and ghosts from his and the Bureau’s dark, not so distant, past under former Director J. Edgar Hoover.
Before shifting to films, the movie’s director, Peter Landesman, worked as an investigative journalist for many years. Landesman was at a bar with a friend in 2005 when he learned that Felt had revealed himself to be Deep Throat in a Vanity Fair article. Landesman was shocked that the public’s reaction to the revelation, which had withstood more than three decades of intense curiosity and speculation, was a collective shrug.
The movie provides a balanced portrayal of Felt’s and the FBI’s role in this particular piece of history, depicting both positive and less savory elements. It’s suspenseful, timely, thought-provoking, and enjoyable, whether you remember Watergate or not.