Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House Review
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The political world is never really lacking in scandal and corruption. But in 1972, the Watergate scandal shook all of Washington. And Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House takes a closer look at the investigation that wasn’t supposed to take place through the eyes of the man who ordered it.

Mark Felt follows the story of the FBI’s Deputy Associate Director (played by Liam Neeson) during the Watergate investigation. In the midst of an election year, J. Edgar Hoover’s death has already caused chaos in the Bureau, and when the Watergate scandal begins to unfold, Felt and his team find themselves under pressure to share their findings with the While House. Suspecting that something is amiss, Felt keeps the investigation quiet—continuing after he’s told to close it and eventually leaking information to the press to keep the scandal from being buried.

Mark Felt’s story is definitely a fascinating one: the story of a man who’d given his whole life to the job—who’d made sacrifices and played by the rules and kept all the secrets for three decades—only to have a bunch of outsiders swoop down and try to take over. And it’s then that his experience with less scrupulous coworkers comes in handy, and he begins using his knowledge and his contacts to get the job done.

Neeson gives a haunting performance as Felt. He’s eerily stone-faced and constantly calculating. He’s determined to do the right thing. He’s ruthless and a little bit desperate. And he quietly plays the game.

Admittedly, the film isn’t loaded with Hollywood drama. Apart from a seemingly unnecessary side story involving Felt’s ongoing search for his missing daughter, it’s all business. It’s all about information: about the men who search for it, those who try to keep it buried, and those who use it to get what they want. And, since it’s a story as seen through the eyes of one of those information gatherers, it focuses on the facts—not a lot of emotions. It’s a film of subtle facial expressions and clandestine meetings in cars and out of the way diners. And while that doesn’t make it an especially moving film, the suspicion, paranoia, and secret operations make it intriguing.

Mark Felt won’t become a classic Watergate thriller, but it’s certainly an interesting piece of political history. It offers a look behind the scenes while telling the story of the man who became known as Deep Throat.

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