Like all Oliver Stone films, this one is more provocative than historically precise. In fact, critics from across the political spectrum have found plenty to fault in this three-hour epic. While some have complained that the film libels Nixon and his contributions to American history, others have suggested that it romanticizes the disgraced president. But if viewed more as a Shakespearean tragedy, or a gothic exploration of the dark forces shaping politics, the film provides food for thought.
This HBO docudrama unravels the 36-day political and legal battle following the presidential election of 2000, culminating in the Supreme Court ruling which brought this historic election to an end. It is a film about politics—and so, of course, the reviews have been mixed. Democratic analysts have generally concluded that the film is accurate in its portrayal of events, while Republican critics have labeled the film biased and like to point out that the prior to Recount, the film's director, Jay Roach, was best known for Meet the Parents and Austin Powers.
There is plenty to criticize in this long-running television series. Leaning to the left, its politics are not balanced, and it is hard to believe that White House staffers engage in such sophisticated, rapid-fire banter on so little sleep. But the show is provocative and well written, and, for many viewers frustrated by the scandals of Bill Clinton's presidency and bumbling administration of George W. Bush, Jed Bartlett was the president they wish they had.