Sidney Lumet reins in the rhetorical excesses of Network for this similar project about a Mephistophelian media consultant (Richard Gere) who sells his services to dubious political candidates. Predictably, his cynicism gives way to a reborn idealism when his ex-wife, high-powered reporter Julie Christie, uncovers a scandal involving his only remaining political hero, populist senator E.G. Marshall. The catch to this kind of story is that the protagonist always loses his attractiveness when he resigns his evil ways, and the Gere character is much more appealing when he’s cooking up ingenious schemes to put his hopeless clients over than when he’s fighting for truth and justice. Still, there is little of the gratuitous hysteria that usually mars Lumet’s work, and David Himmelstein’s busy script (no less than four campaigns are covered, when one or two would do) keeps things moving, though at the price of losing track of a couple of significant subplots. With Gene Hackman, Kate Capshaw, Denzel Washington, and Beatrice Straight.