The Hunting of the President movie review, Harry Thomason, Nickolas Perry, Morgan Freeman (narrator). Review by Jeffrey M. Anderson ©SPLICEDwire
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A scene from 'The Hunting of the President'
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*** stars
89 minutes | Not rated
LIMITED: Friday, July 16, 2004
Directed by Harry Thomason, Nickolas Perry

Featuring Morgan Freeman (narrator)

  • Political documentaries
  • Morgan Freeman

  •  LINKS for this film
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    Revealing documentary 'The Hunting of the President' an opinionated exposé of efforts to destroy Bill Clinton

      by Jeffrey M. Anderson
      (Combustible Celluloid)

    Based on Joe Conason and Gene Lyons' bestseller, this new documentary makes an interesting companion piece to Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," offering a possible explanation as to how the country came to its second impeachment trial in the final years of Bill Clinton's presidency.

    Beginning as Clinton prepared to take office after the 1992 election, "The Hunting of the President" follows the new Commander in Chief to a party, where he made a speech about restoring ideals to the White House. Meanwhile, many old-school politicians saw him as a godless liberal and as a threat, both to their established way of doing business and to the nation's morals.

    Spearheaded by a right-wing group the source book called "the elves" -- which included Anne Coulter and Dick Cheney -- a independent counsel was set up under the guises of investigating Clinton's involvement in an investment deal that went bad. "Hunting" catalogs how heavily-biased Republican cronie Kenneth Starr was eventually given carte blanche to dig into Clinton's past and stopped at nothing -- including working with low-life Arkansan private investigators -- to find some dirt, any dirt. Despite minimal results, Starr managed to put Clinton on the stand. But, as the film serves to remind, the public overwhelmingly continued to support the president, and he was subsequently absolved of all charges.

    Directed by Harry Thomason and Nickolas Perry and narrated by Morgan Freeman, "Hunting" uses talking heads and playful stock footage to delve a little deeper into the story. It tells about such horrifying tidbits as the badgering of Susan McDougal, who went to prison and, as Thomason and Perry emphasize, lived among child murderers for refusing to lie about the Clintons. Through the adventures of a New Zealand reporter on the campaign trail, we also learn about Everett Ham, member of a group called the Alliance for the Rebirth of an Independent America, dedicated to smearing Clinton's reputation.

    More disturbingly, the film explores the way in which the American media slowly gave in to pressure from right-wing interest groups and began reporting the news with a definite bias.

    But most of all, it tries to understand the anger and hatred over this popular president -- tries and fails. One reporter's words sum it up: throughout all of this mess, the American people were the only ones who were right.

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