Jan 7, 2009

Frost/Nixon

One of the hardest things to do in movie making is take a stage play and then translate that to the big screen. It's a testament to the makers of Frost/Nixon that they have wildly succeeded in doing such a thing with great results. Director Ron Howard has made his finest film in years. Thanks mainly to two things. A great script, by Peter Morgan, and superb performances. It is certainly my express wish that in the coming awards season that this fine film gets in the queue when they are handing out the acting and writing awards.

Frost/Nixon opens in 1974. Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) has just resigned the American presidency in utter disgrace following the Watergate scandal. Fortuitously, for himself, he was not prosecuted. But he was certainly hanged in the court of public opinion. Famous British talk show host David Frost (Michael Sheen) views the resignation on TV and begins the idea of having Nixon as an interview subject. Frost is regarded as somewhat of a lightweight and playboy and relishes the idea of getting Nixon to tell his story. So, begins the battle between two men, with different motives. One man seeking redemption, one man seeking credibility. It all culminates in a month long interview session in California in 1977. Frost not only stakes his reputation on the line but his wallet, paying an exorbitant amount for an interview that might not work. The battle between the two men is illuminating and revealing. A lucid script enables the actors to do their thing. Sheen is very good as the rattled and pressured Frost, but Langella is astounding as the multi faceted former president. He reveals a man who is many things. Arrogant, conceited, broken, eccentric and worn out by the experience. Also excellent are the two man doing the research for Frost. Oliver Platt and Sam Rockwell are like the chorus for the film, giving us commentary and humour at exactly the right times. This is a powerful film, showing us the frailties and failures of men at the precipice. Giving us all the elements of the foibles of men. Then to top it off by telling the story with such humour and pathos is a triumph in itself.

1 Comments:

  • At January 08, 2009 , Anonymous Amanda said...

    Yeah, I thought it was wonderful too. The phone call scene towards the end was breathtaking.

     

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