The Sentinel

 
Directed by: Clark Johnson
Written by: George Nolfi
Starring: Michael Douglas, Kiefer Sutherland, Eva Longoria, Martin Donovan, Kim Basinger, David Rasche
Released: August 3, 2006
Grade: B

Pete Garrison (Douglas) has had a long and distinguished career with the U.S. Secret Service.  He took a bullet for President Reagan in the early 1980s and he is known as one of the Service’s most respected and experienced agents.

After a fellow agent is murdered in his own home, Garrison receives information from a trusted source that the current President is to be assassinated.  When quizzed as to how, his source reveals that there is an “insider” within the Secret Service who is putting the plan in place.

Garrison takes the threat seriously and informs the upper echelon of the Secret Service.  An immediate investigation is launched by David Breckinridge (Sutherland) with every single agent who has access to the President forced to undertake a lie detector test.  No chances are being taken.

There is one man who fails the test.  It is Pete Garrison.  The man who has protected the President for his entire career now finds himself accused of wanting to kill him.  Unable to reveal why he failed the test (I’ll let you find out for yourself), Garrison now finds himself pitted against his fellow agents in a race against time to clear his name.

I love a good political thriller and whilst The Sentinel has far too many holes for my liking, it’s fun to watch the drama unfold and pieces of the puzzle fit together.  Both Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland have been well cast and they have the right personalities for their characters.  The female presence in the film is boosted with the inclusion of Kim Basinger, as the President’s wife, and Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives), as a newcomer within the Secret Service.

It’s familiar territory for director Clark Johnson who has worked on television series such as The Shield, The West Wing, Law & Order, Third Watch and Homicide.  He knows what the audience is looking for - an interesting mystery that wraps up with a nice, neat ending.  If that sounds like your kind of movie, you’ll be happy to know that Johnson and writer George Nolfi (Ocean’s Twelve) have delivered.  Those prepared to scrutinise the nitty-gritty details of the story will be less impressed.