Thursday, January 01, 2009
Movie Reviews: FROST/NIXON
In 1977, three years after the Watergate scandal that ended his presidency, Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) selects British TV personality David Frost (Michael Sheen) to conduct a one-on-one, exclusive interview. Though Nixon believes it will be easy to snowball Frost, and Frost's own team doubts their boss can stand up to the former president, what actually unfolds is an unexpectedly candid and revealing interview before the court of public opinion.
Cast: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Kevin Bacon, Rebecca Hall, Toby Jones, Matthew MacFadyen, Oliver Platt, Sam Rockwell
Director: Ron Howard
Opened December 5, 2008
Runtime: 2 hr. 2 min.
Rated R for some language
Genres: Docudrama, Political Drama, Drama
Frost/Nixon is a thoroughly engaging docudrama with so truly spectacular performances from its main leads. Ron Howard directs this well polished and wonderfully scripted film with an experienced hand. Howard brings a wonderful sense of energy to the proceedings, never letting any scene roll into tedium. Howard creates a sort of Rocky like showdown as the two exchange verbal punches in the climatic interviews. Frost/Nixon is scripted by Peter Morgan, he also penned the stage play, brings a refined sense of the players and rarely waste a word. The headliners, who also reprise their roles from the stage play, provide superb performances and give the film its dramatic weight. Frank Langella is mesmerizing in his portrayal of Richard Nixon. Langella delivers a performance filled with so many subtle nuances that repeated viewings will be necessary to fully appreciate it. It's not so much an impersonation as much as a dramatic interpretation that veers incredibly close to reality, a fictitious late night phone call to Frost is a prime example. Equally effective is the always impressive Michael Sheen, playing Frost as the sort of person who knows a great opportunity when he sees one. Sheen effectively captures Frost's charm and charisma in his performance. The rest of the supporting casts do just as well in smaller roles. Sam Rockwell and Kevin Bacon, in particular, shine as men on opposing sides who are totally devoted in their cause. Frost/Nixon is the type of film that depends heavily on the depth of its characters and with Ron Howard's skilled direction and its top notch cast this is the type of film that truly captures weight of history on film.