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With: Morgan Freeman (narrator), James Carvelle, Susan McDougal, Jerry Falwell
Written by: Based on the book by Gene Lyons, Joe Conason
Directed by: Harry Thomason, Nickolas Perry
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 89
Date: 01/23/2004

The Hunting of the President (2004)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Based on Joe Conason and Gene Lyons' bestseller, this documentary offers a possible explanation as to how President Bill Clinton wound up facing impeachment. Directed by Harry Thomason and Nickolas Perry and narrated by Morgan Freeman, the film plays a little like Michael Moore-lite, using playful interviews, graphics and stock footage to enhance its story. According to the film, many old-school politicians saw Clinton as a godless threat to their established way of doing business and to the nation's morals. Thomason and Perry describe a right-wing group called "the elves," which included Anne Coulter and Dick Cheney, who arranged for a heavily biased independent counsel, Ken Starr, to investigate Clinton's past and find some dirt. Little of this is new, but the film highlights the badgering of Susan McDougal, who was imprisoned with child murderers because she wouldn't lie about the Clintons. 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. Despite an obvious bias of its own, The Hunting of the President finishes off as a highly effective and powerful film. (The film opens July 16 for a week's run at San Francisco's Roxie Cinema.)

DVD Details: Fox's DVD comes, excitingly, with a 43-minute speech by President Clinton after the film's world premiere. This is much appreciated as the film itself does not interview him. The DVD also includes a trailer, scene selections, an English Dolby Surround track and optional English and Spanish subtitles.

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