7 September 2007 | Cernan68
I disagree with Michael Morrison
This was a great thriller, and is especially timely today, with all the corruption and lawbreaking at the top of government,
But I disagree with Michael Morrison when he says that Ray Blanton ended his governorship the way President Clinton ended his presidency. I've seen the movie twice, and have researched Blanton. The truth is, Blanton was a very corrupt official who did very little for his constituents and did not care about upholding the law or about the people who elected him. Unless everything I've read about Blanton, and saw in the film, was incorrect, Mr. Morrison is wrong. The truth is, Blanton left office in disgrace, with a dismal record as governor. Among those who remember him, he holds very little respect. In fact, even though The Tennessee State Constitution was amended in 1978 to allow Blanton and future Tennessee governors to succeed themselves. he did not run for reelection. In fact, due to the controversy surrounding his administration and lack of respect the public felt about him, it was very unlikely he would have been renominated, let alone reelected, had he chosen to run.
So Mr. Morrison observations are 180 degrees wrong.
As far as the movie, itself, is concerned, the story is strong. I was actually getting hot under the collar watching the corruption going on, even though it was only a movie. Spissy Spacek's performance as Marie Ragghianti made me genuinely feel the frustration of being in a position where she has to choose between siding with the law and your citizens or siding with a corrupt government official (who will abuse his power and authority in order to put you down if you don't join his side). This is true testimony to her acting skills.
Fred Thompson plays himself in this film; a skillful performance which led to his eventual full-time career as an actor. As a real life politician, himself, he skillfully is able to draw on his personal experience to bring certain depth to both his role here and subsequent acting roles he carried.
Although the situation in Tennesee, back in the 1970s, doesn't come close to the level of corruption today, at the Federal level, it does serve as an excellent morality tale of what can and, indeed, has happened. It's a bite size version of the bigger story that is going on today.