Hillary Clinton once famously railed against a "vast right-wing conspiracy" organized soon after her husband's election to the presidency, with the avowed goal of driving him from office. The Hunting of the President takes us inside that shadowy nexus, where small-time Arkansas hustlers, disgruntled ex-troopers, billionaire benefactors, and sex-obsessed prosecutors united around the common purpose of ending Bill Clinton's political career and reversing the expressed will of the American electorate. Longtime Clinton friend Harry Thomason's documentary is an entertaining look at a particularly bilious time in American political history, featuring a dramatis personae that mixes equal parts southern gothic a la Flannery O'Connor with the bar scene from Star Wars. The principal villain of the piece is, of course, Kenneth Starr, the dour special prosecutor who spent more than five years and $50 million of public money investigating President Bill Clinton's alleged financial and sexual improprieties -- and he is not treated gingerly here. But The Hunting of the President reserves its most pointed criticism for the press, which, the film asserts, lost its ethical moorings regarding sourcing and perspective out of a desire not to get scooped, and ended up abetting the personal vendettas and partisan agendas of some truly disreputable characters. Agree with its premise or not, The Hunting of the President should sound the alarm for anyone concerned about the future of American democracy.
Harry Thomason has directed and produced projects as diverse as The Blue and the Gray to TV series such as Evening Shade and Designing Women. A native of Hampton, Arkansas who was a high-school football coach before entering the entertainment industry, Thomason and his wife, Linda Bloodworth, were the chairs of the 1993 presidential inauguration. Thomason and Bloodworth are currently prepping the independent feature, Southern Comfort, starring Sissy Spacek, which they will produce and direct. A former army ranger, Nickolas Perry began his film career as Francis Ford Coppola's editing assistant on Bram Stoker's Dracula. Must Be the Music, the award-winning short film written and directed by Perry, premiered at Sundance in 1996, and his first feature, Speedway Junky, was executive-produced by Gus Van Sant. Perry will begin shooting his third feature, 3 1/2, in May.