Technically, the film sucks lemons through multiple garden hoses, sometimes simultaneously. Truly crappy cinematography, audio levels which jumped all over the place, I finally gave up and turned on subtitles. The black and white clips they showed at the start are disgustingly gratuitously artsy fartsy - all the TV news was in color 10 years before, this was not the 50's. The clips were poorly edited and should never have left the junior high art film project they came from.
The ending was also a study in how not to build suspense, how not to tell a story. The slo-mo at the finale was just stupid. And I never liked Tosca anyway.
The basic story is compelling, Penn carries the show well enough to make it worth seeing. The crowd scenes were impressive. I wonder if rackstraw ever found himself among those thousands of other extras.
There is a lot of history in there which I either had not known or had completely forgotten. At the height of his fame I was overseas, I didn't hear the story till I moved to CA a few years later, Dianne was Mayor.