5.0 out of 5 stars "You got your selves."
Elliott Rosen is an obsessive prosecutor who is desperate to get some inside info on the "mob." He steps in to a moral grey area in his pursuit. Knowing that Michael Colin Gallagher (Paul Newman) is innocent of any crime he plans to push him into finding out who did it. The plan is simple he will leak the false fact out, through reporter Megan Carter (Sally Field), that...
Published on Jan 28 2004 by bernie
3.0 out of 5 stars Good performances...ethics be damned
The issue of leaking information to the press has been around for years, and this film does its best to illustrate how badly it can backfire when the sources aren't properly checked and re-checked.
Having said that, and being a journalist myself, I just want to shoot Sally Field for her gross violations of journalist ethics. Getting involved with the subject? No...
Published on April 18 2000 by Steve S.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "You got your selves.",
This movie does not make an immediate impact on you with the exception of Brimley's final confrontation speech. However repeated viewing brings out the subtleties that will make this one of your favorite movies for years to come.
4.0 out of 5 stars The dangers of the public spotlight,
There's something satisfying about the deceptive ease with which Gallagher turns the media against itself, but the resolution is unsatisfying. Wilford Brimley plays the Assistant Attorney General who gets everybody honest by threatening to make people talk under oath. (We get the point, people have no problem saying anything as long as they don't have to stand by it.) The last scene is essentially Brimley's one-man show, one that upstages Sally Fields's character's turn-about: rather than disclose Gallagher as the source of her latest story, she's willing to take the fall for him. Her logic is impeccable - somebody is going to take the blame and the fall no matter what. Why not her? If anything, the film disappoints in underplaying the attraction between the two, which only makes you wonder whether her denouement is one of journalistic integrity or love. Instead, we cheer that Brimley will get to tell the media what he thinks (and nobody in this room is going to like what I have to say, he warns) and the way he exacts retribution (you're no White House appointee, he tells Balaban's character. "The one who hired you, is me." Start packing).
4.0 out of 5 stars REVENGE WITHOUT BULLETS,
ABSENCE OF MALICE is, in the first place, an "actor" movie, with two stars of 1981 : Paul Newman and Sally Field. The secondary roles are also well written and interesting. The movie belongs to the category of moral movies and tries to defend these two ideas :
- Things and people are not always what or who they seem to be.
- The newspapers should have the duty to verify their sources before printing anything.
The treatment of the subject is well done, the screenplay being sometimes too weak. But Sydney Pollack, with this material, was able to present a conventional but still watchable movie.
A DVD zone moral education
4.0 out of 5 stars On The Record / Off The Record,
It is in this time of digital press that film made in the 80s' turns out to be very interesting and provocative, due to its timeless subject. Sally Field plays a reporter of a major Miami's Newspaper who has fallen in a trap. She has no qualms when having the chance to peep a file about a man accused of kidnapping and killing a working class leader. Moreover, she gets involved with this man who in the end happens to be her reliable source. Telling more than this would mean give some interesting twists of the movie.
As aforementioned, the movie tackles ethic in journalism, and, let's face it, Sally's character is not that ethical with her sources. She does most of the things that someone expected to be fair and accurate wouldn't do, like not confirming information or publishing off record statements -- plus she sleeps with her source. Some in-love hearts would justify it saying that love is above everything, but I don't agree. What kind of professional is she?
Tlaking about the movie itself, it is very entertaining. Sally Field gives a good performance, but who is great as usual is Paul Newman. His perfornance is very subtle and full of nuances. Bob Balaban is terrific and a bit hateful as agent who comes down to be the prime source to Sally's reporter, detonating a sequence of inacuratte reports.
It is impossible to watch this movie and not to rise questions like how accure all the stuff we read in newspapers, magazines, internet is; and also when is an information so important that it has to be published, even when the source asks it to ve off the record. One interesting example would be when a reporter is working on a piece about two guys missing in the sea and a Lt. tells her that there are sharks in the area. But Sally tells her not to mention it in her article, because it may scare turists, so the solution is to say that is an area with many fishes. Then how true is her piece?
All in all, nowadays, as the press has to be faster, there's less time to check information. So the readers are much more liable to read untrue stories.
5.0 out of 5 stars Ending one of the best I have seen,
5.0 out of 5 stars ABSENCE OF MALICE!,
5.0 out of 5 stars ABSENCE OF AWESOME!,
5.0 out of 5 stars Commitment? To whom? For what?,
This review is from: Absence of Malice [Import] (VHS Tape)When Sally Field is asked if she was "involved" with suspect Newman she answered that no it was not true but yes it was accurate. They had been lovers but her trust was in something "professional." Or was it ambition?
Sally, as a reporter who wanted to get ahead, was bent on getting "a story." Newman, in an effort to get some help against what was media harrassment, invites Sally to lunch. This turns into a budding romance or at least friendship. But when "new evidence" comes in against Newman she chooses to go after the story once again.
Newman managed to set up the local Federal and State prosecutors AND the local newspapers, for a publicity embarrassment. It worked. Sally believed her "sources" rather than Newman. She couldn't rise above her "professionalism" to believe a friend. She, too, became caught in an embarrassing trap.
The Trap is snapped shut by Wilford Brimley, playing an Assistant Attorney General of the US. Brimley's handling of the climatic face to face meeting of the various parties involved is a cinema delight not to be missed.
On the serious side our vulnerability to official and media harassment was well defined, for me, by this story. It also takes a stab at the difficult question of how and why we accept truth.
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Picture,
By A Customer
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Absence of Malice [Blu-ray] [Import] (Blu-ray - 2011)