Sunday, December 14, 2008

Frost/Nixon: A Must See

I have been waiting for Frost/Nixon since I first saw the theatrical trailer. Having lived through the whole period of Nixon hell, I was eager to be reminded of a President even more corrupt than George W. Bush. I was never a big fan of David Frost, but I did remember how Frost evoked from Nixon an admission of criminal actions as President, something Nixon had never admitted. Before, he had only made "mistakes."

Ron Howard's brilliantly directed film, based on the Peter Morgan's London and Broadway stage play, boils down to the partly fictionalized duel between Frost (Michael Sheen) and Nixon (Frank Langella). Frost was not a journalist, but instead a talk-show host. His aim was to take Nixon down in his series of interviews with the former President, and by doing so, propel himself into stardom. He risked his career and fortune and finally succeeded brilliantly, much to the surprise of most people around him and journalists around the globe.

Langella's performance as Nixon is brilliant. While he does not channel Nixon, as with Sean Penn in Milk, he certainly merits consideration for an Oscar nod. He has already been nominated for a Golden Globe for this role. Other film nominations include Best Picture, Best Director (Ron Howard), Best Screenplay (Peter Morgan), and Best Original Score (Hans Zimmer).

Go to see this film. Whether you know little about the facts behind the film or not, it is mesmerizing to watch. My only criticism is that Howard allowed Langella to give a slightly sympaththtic performance of Nixon. I never found Nixon in real life to be someone with whom I would ever sympathize.