Adapting Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s bestseller about their investigation in the Watergate scandal, director Alan J. Pakula, screenwriter William Goldman and Robert Redford accomplished the near impossible. They made a genuinely gripping political thriller out of the day-to-day drudgery of the life of a newspaper reporter.
They did it without hyping up the story with a lot of false Hollywood devices or overly glamorizing its lead characters. It is this prosaic sense of everyday reality, this semi-documentary style that gives the film its tension. There is no point where you are comforted by the thought that it couldn’t happen this way. It could and it did. The film shows the two reporters often beating their heads against the wall. At many times their story teeters on the edge of failure and you realize just how close the perpetrators came to getting away with it.