Sunday, January 25, 2009

Review: Frost/Nixon

Rating: Highly recommend
Analogy: "Good Night and Good Luck" meets "All the President's Men"
Synopsis (from Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard brings to the screen writer Peter Morgan's ("The Queen," "The Last King of Scotland") electrifying battle between Richard Nixon, the disgraced president with a legacy to save, and David Frost, a jet-setting television personality with a name to make, in the untold story of the historic encounter that changed both.
Soundtrack: Yes, musical score by Hans Zimmer ("Gladiator," "Rain Main").

Review: It's a rare type of thriller that, despite a lack of "action," captivates the audience from start to finish.

As in all great movies, the captivating pull comes from several sources: the subject matter (which, as a journalist, perhaps intrigues me more than your average Joe), the film-making methods and the acting performances.

Frank Langella and Michael Sheen reprise their respective roles as Richard Nixon and David Frost from the stage production of "Frost/Nixon." Langella won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Tricky Dick on Broadway and now is nominated for an Academy Award for his work in the film -- and deservedly so.

Entering the film, most people already have an opinion about Richard Nixon and his disgraceful exit from the White House. But Langella's Nixon is not just a caricature of the man. He is not merely a good Nixon impressionist; he is the man. A real man, as believable a performance as you'll see at the movies this year.

Several times throughout the film, which is presented as a pseudo-documentary, the Frost/Nixon interviews are compared to a boxing match. The wily veteran champion vs. the optimistic contender. "No holds barred," is how Nixon puts it. Well said, Mr. President.

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