Comments on watching and making films.

Monday, January 26, 2009


I had reservations about going to see Frost/Nixon. I wondered whether or not the film would hold my interest, seeing as how it has to do with a subject that always felt, to me, like it would be more important to those that lived through it, than to those of us that were not even born when these events were happening. It has been getting raves, though, and I thought I'd give it a shot. I went to a VERY early show, expecting few if any people to be there, but was, instead, greeted by a throng of movie goers, all of whom were probably twenty to thirty years older than I was, and would have at least been kids when these events happened, if not young adults.

Frost/Nixon is the very simple story of David Frost, a British TV personality, and his quest to get an interview with the newly out of office President Nixon, who was forced to resign to avoid impeachment because of the Watergate scandal. It follows Michael Sheen (who played Tony Blair in The Queen), as David Frost, and Frank Langella as Nixon (reprising his role from the stage play that this film was based on). The two square off, with Nixon seeing Frost as an adversary, an opponent to be fought and to conquer, and Frost seeing Nixon as his ticket to a journalistic gold mine (even if it costs him everything).

Ron Howard directs the film that, as I said earlier, was based on a stage play of the same name. The film is masterfully put together, feeling like the 1970's every bit of the way. Langella is perfect as Nixon and Michael Sheen shines as the excited, but crumbling Frost, whose world is coming together and falling apart at the same time. Fantastic supporting roles by Oliver Platt, Kevin Bacon, and Sam Rockwell, make Frost/Nixon into a film that seems like it is the final word on the events that happened during that bleak time in American history when this country's people were no longer sure if they could trust the presidency, and that is really where Frost/Nixon's genius lies - It's a film about an event that took place some thirty odd years ago, yet the parallels between Nixon's administration and George W. Bush's administration are worn, tastefully, on the sleeve of this film. The boiling point is, of course, when Nixon is challenged by Frost in the last part of his interview about the President doing things that are illegal, and Nixon retorts to Frost "What I'm saying is, if the President does it, that means it is not illegal". Wow... Howard hit the nail of our last president right on the head.

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