The Washington Affair

There are a number of ways of looking at this excellent little film. It settles the hash of government contractors and inspectors alike, it rebukes the haughty and proud, it says the last shall be first. It has a lovely construction and is well-filmed. It gives you Barry Sullivan and Carol Lynley. It even has Tom Selleck, a not entirely inadequate actor.

The way that’s most appealing, perhaps, is to calculate the agony of the film critic sitting through some film, an unbearable monstrosity, a hallucination of evil, a vision of Gehenna, not at all like this film but like Sullivan watching the film-within-a-film, maybe he storms out or curses his gods—but if he waits, he smiles over his triumph, as the thing peters out to nothing (“I can bear witness”).