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Review: Frost/Nixon

Frost/Nixon
12.05.2008
8 10

PLOT: In the summer of 1977, an interview took place between correspondent David Frost and Richard Nixon. Frost simply felt that the ex-President should take responsibility for the mess that is known as Watergate. In FROST/NIXON, we are introduced to those precious moments right before the legendary interview and finally to its consequences.

REVIEW: It is hard to imagine that a stage play turned into a film would not necessarily feel like a "stage play". Especially when it is only about a single televised interview. Yet FROST/NIXON is an utterly captivating piece of historical cinema. But if you think about it, the interview between David Frost and Richard Nixon was more than just a few words amongst men. It was 1977, and it was a time when the people of the United States knew they were being lied to. They all knew that Richard Nixon was involved heavily in the Watergate scandal. It was a disheartening time when Vietnam was still fresh in the public’s memory, and this man who was forced from the Presidency never admitted to his involvement. Ironically enough, there was much that he did do in his years in the White House that were commendable. But it was burglary that brought him down. Whatever your views, this was a time in history that forever changed the way we look at politics.

Frank Langella is Nixon. While I didn’t feel that he looked all that much like the man, he made me believe that he was this sad yet powerful ex-President. He made me believe in the control he had during the beginning of the battle, sometimes simply by commenting on Frost‘s Italian shoes. This was a smart man that had no intention of taking the blame for Watergate. Or did he? I began to wonder if he simply wanted to finally come clean. The film’s final moments prove to be the most powerful, as Langella’s Nixon seems to become much more human, while Frost finds the strength to attack. And speaking of Frost, Michael Sheen is wonderful in the role. He is self centered, he is full of desire to be taken seriously, because he knows there is something in him that the world has never seen. All of this is made clear as he finally faces off against the man who was once king. His angst and uncertainty is clear as he attempts to simply get Nixon to apologize to the American public. Sheen’s silence speaks more than words ever could.

The supporting cast of players is also quite good, especially Matthew Macfadyen as Frost’s producer, John Birt. Ron Howard was able to really breath life into what could have been a dull history lesson. And this is a pretty impressive feat. If you consider how painfully boring essentially making a movie out of an interview could be, it is surprising that the film is as potent as it is. The script by Peter Morgan (who also wrote the stage play) is well written enough that it offers an intriguing look at the making of this legendary interview. With both this and MILK opening recently, just in time for possible Oscar consideration, it is actually surprising how both films feel relevant today. Yes, they both took place in the Seventies, but it seems very true and relevant in today‘s society. While I didn’t find the emotional involvement to be as strong with this as opposed to Milk, I was still very impressed by the finished project.

While many may want to skip this just for the simple fact that it is based on an interview and doesn’t sound all that exciting, I have to say that you might want to give it a chance. While the beginning is not quite as interesting as the final half, I do think the pace is good enough that it will be worth investing some time in. When the final battle plays out, it is so wonderfully acted that you will have a hard time believing that this isn’t exactly the way it went down in real life. Frost/Nixon is a fitting and surprisingly appropriate film in this day and age in regards to its examination of a time when innocence was lost. It truly is an impressive stage play turned into a impressive film. With which there is no surprise that both Sheen and Langella, who originated the roles, were able to bring their worthy portrayals to the big screen.. My rating 8/10 -- JimmyO

Source: JoBlo.com

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