Saturday, January 03, 2009


Yesterday I saw my first movie of 2009 - Frost/Nixon - the stylised account of the lead-up to and the actual interviews between the British interviewer David Frost and disgraced US President Richard Milhous Nixon. There were a few much-criticised historical inaccuracies in the film (many relating to the claimed priority Frost enjoyed in getting admissions from Nixon) but it is a dramatic and suspenseful movie. There is also much grim humour. Frank Langella is superb as Nixon and must be a contender for an Oscar – the film has been nominated for Golden Globes awards for best dramatic picture, best actor in a drama (Langella), best director (Ron Howard), best screenplay (Peter Morgan) and best original score (Hans Zimmer).

I also thought Michael Sheen was a more than capable David Frost - some critics found his smile wooden but his frivolous easy-going character was the exact counterweight to the neurotic intelligence of Nixon. Both lead actors previously participated in performances of a play with the same title.

By the way my sympathies during the film were almost entirely with Nixon – an imperfect, difficult although obviously highly intelligent man. In the film he runs rings around Frost until the final 2 hours of 30 hours of interviewing when finally and climactically Frost induces Nixon to spill the beans on his complicity in the Watergate scandal. The final admission almost seems cathartic for Nixon who finally realises it is over for him.

An enjoyable dramatic film.

1 comment:

Hels said...

I agree with you that Nixon was portrayed beautifully, as a strong determined man who understood what the fuss was about but defended his actions anyway. It really was a very impressive performance.

But I found Frost's "frivolous easy-going character" too frivolous and too easy-going. Frost's income was certainly on the line, and probably his reputation as well. Yet he was too busy chasing skirt to focus on the task at hand. Was he badly cast? Or was he badly directed?