Clint Eastwood assembled an astounding cast for 1997’s presidential malfeasance thriller Absolute Power (based on David Baldacci’s novel), and one can only surmise that their participation had more to do with Eastwood’s involvement than with William Goldman’s moronic, plot hole-filled script. Eastwood plays an un-retired thief who, during a burglary, happens to witness (from behind a vault’s two-way mirror) the President (Gene Hackman) engage in some rough extramarital foreplay that ultimately ends in the woman’s death. Eastwood films this tantalizingly taut set-up with unfussy precision, but his film has absolutely no clue how to capitalize on its sterling opening. Hackman, Ed Harris, Laura Linney, Scott Glenn, Dennis Haysbert, Judy Davis, and E.G. Marshall all prove more competent than their material, but none can save this dunderheaded fantasy about noble thieves and corrupt commander-in-chiefs from either its own illogicality – why does detective Harris think breaking and entering is OK? How does E.G. Marshall’s assassin know Eastwood’s whereabouts during the outdoor café scene? Why does everyone assume, merely on the basis of Eastwood’s status as the city’s only thief, that he was the mysterious crook at the crime scene? – or its surprisingly slack pacing.