A Jewel Thief Acquires Secret Knowledge
Release Date: February 14, 1997
Runtime: 125 minutes
Distributor: Castle Rock
Director: Clint Eastwood
Executive Producer: Tom Rooker
Producer: Clint Eastwood
Writer: William Goldman
Address Comments To:Alan Horn, Managing Partner & CEO
Castle Rock Entertainment
335 North Maple Drive, Suite 135
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Master jewel thief, Luther Whitney (Clint Eastwood), successfully disarms the technically advanced alarm in the home of a wealthy philanthropist and loads up jewels and cash from the owner’s private safe. By chance, a man and woman enter the bedroom and begin kissing and caressing each other. The sex turns violent. When the man slaps the woman, she retaliates by cutting him with a letter opener. When she raises her arm to stab him, she is shot by two Secret Service agents. It turns out her lethal lover is Allan Richmond (Gene Hackman), the President of the United States, and her husband is the President’s best friend, billionaire Walter Sullivan (E.G. Marshall). The cunning thief waits for the trouble to calm down to escape through the window, taking the letter opener stained with the President’s blood and finger prints. He is chased by the Secret Service, but escapes unscathed.
Then, Luther visits his estranged daughter Kate (Laura Hinney) on her daily jog and tells her of his intentions to leave the country for good. Kate, a prosecutor, is not impressed with her father’s career as a criminal and his decision to leave. At the airport, Luther sees a television press conference where the President publicly praises and embraces Walter Sullivan. Enraged by the President’s lecherous deception, he decides to remain in the US to expose his duplicity.
With a well-written plot by screenwriter and book author, William Goldman, this movie ends with a shocking twist. Regrettably, ABSOLUTE POWER, is not an ode to the biblical concept of Lex Rex which holds that God’s Law is above even the king or the president. If that were the case, the corrupt president in this movie should and would have been brought to justice. However, the justice in this movie is outside the law as it is in most of Mr. Eastwood’s movies, and therefore it is abhorrent to God. That is not to say that God does not enact just punishment on ungodly rulers (He does!), but it is to say that God’s word is very clear that we are called to deal with the unjust ruler within the guidelines of God’s Law and not to take the law into our own hands. Thus, in the final analysis, this is a pagan movie which depicts outrageous presidential conduct and vigilante justice.
Clint Eastwood uses all his talents and steely presence to portray a jewel thief in a cop and robber drama, but he only turns heroic because of a quirk of fate. Though he witnesses a crime, he remains a thief. Although it is true that this character “wants to make things right” with his estranged daughter, the role is a waste of Eastwood’s charisma and talent. This leading producer, director and actor had the potential to raise the standards of American heroes, but chose instead to present us with a faulty hero and vigilante justice. This Dirty Harry remains dirty.
Suspenseful and tense, this movie is about a wanted man bearing a secret. Well-written and expertly directed, ABSOLUTE POWER depicts outrageous presidential conduct. Regrettably, the movie is not an ode to the biblical concept of Lex Rex which holds that God’s Law is above even the president and calls us to bring ungodly rulers to justice, but instead an ode to pagan vigilante justice which God abhors. Clint Eastwood uses his talents and steely presence to portray a jewel thief in a cop and robber drama, but he only turns heroic because of a quirk of fate. Although he “wants to make things right,” he actually enables the victim to exact revenge on the killer. This Dirty Harry remains dirty in ABSOLUTE POWER