Is the Watergate miniseries Gaslit (Starzplay, via Apple TV+) a great political drama? Come back in seven episodes and we should have a clearer picture. It’s sporadically amusing at the moment.
The first episode shoots and bangs in all directions, like an explosion in a fireworks warehouse.
Based on the first season of the podcast slow burning, who deals with various political scandals is anything but a perennial favorite himself. It bounces from character to character with lots of energy but no real discipline.
The aim is to focus on the less explored stories within the larger story, primarily those of Martha Mitchell, the wife of Richard Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell, brilliantly played by Julia Roberts and returning for the first time since the 2018 psychological thriller can be seen on television homecoming.
A flamboyant, chic Arkansas socialite, Martha was famous for her outspokenness and indiscretion, traits that earned her the nickname “The Mouth from the South.”
They also eventually led to her being vilified by the Nixon administration as a paranoid, delusional drunk.
Despite being a loyal Republican, she was the first person to publicly sound the alarm bell about Nixon’s role in the Watergate break-in. Despite drastic efforts to silence her, including being locked in a hotel room under the guard of an agent, she continued to whistle.
Sean Penn plays John Mitchell, following in the footsteps of Russell Crowe as Roger Ailes and Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, wiggling around in a bulky suit, his face buried under layers of shaking latex.
The Mitchells are a loving couple (quite loving if you happen to be their snappy, whip-smart 11-year-old daughter who has to put up with them snogging across the breakfast table), but their marriage is taking a huge strain because Martha just won’t shut up and will play the Washington game.
She gives television interviews without asking for permission, gossips with magazine journalists about what’s been happening at DC parties, and does nothing to downplay her animosity towards First Lady Pat Nixon (shown only in long shot while Tricky Dicky itself never appears on the screen). ).
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In rampant sexist Washington in the 1970s, all of this embarrasses her husband.
There is some sharp and funny dialogue between the couple. Martha claims that Pat Nixon maliciously planned one of her swanky parties for the same night as a swanky party she was throwing just to steal the limelight from her.
“It was a misunderstanding,” says Mitchell.
“The Bay of Pigs was a misunderstanding,” jokes Martha. “It was an intervention.”
There’s probably a good two-hour film out there about Martha Mitchell and the treatment she endured at the hands of Nixon and his motley crew of crooks, clowns and idiots. but gas lit I want to tell other stories too. A much from other stories.
Plenty of screen time is set aside for White House Counsel John Dean (Dan Stevens in brown contacts) and his cutesy courtship of his wife-to-be, the left-leaning Mo (Betty Gilbin), a stewardess who works part-time as a dating agency escort (they first met , as she accompanies him to an evening dress).
Dean is portrayed as an essentially nice but naïve fool who, vaguely ignoring the concerns of the much smarter Moge, reverses his decision to resign and gets sucked into Watergate.
We also get generous help from the man who organized and supervised the Watergate burglary, macho headbanger G Gordon Liddy, played with wild hilarity by Shea Whigham.
gas lit begins with Liddy performing his favorite parlor trick — holding his palm over a candle flame until he can smell burning flesh without betraying a hint of pain — while delivering a bat-crazy monologue.
“History is not made by the weak masses, the pissants, commies, the queers and the women,” he snarls. “It is written and rewritten by soldiers bearing the banner of kings. That’s what it means to be an American. That’s what it means to be Nixon.”
Whenever Liddy’s on screen, gas lit resembles The thickness of it. It’s also a lot of fun, but the different segments never seem to belong together, making for an inconsistent and unsatisfying experience.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/tv-reviews/watergate-drama-gaslit-gives-us-too-much-to-chew-on-41589493.html Watergate drama Gaslit gives us too much to chew on