Sunday, January 04, 2009


Today I saw Frost/Nixon, starring Michael Sheen and Frank Langella.

It's easy to see why this film is generating so much Oscar® buzz.

The story rewinds history to focus on the landmark interviews of Richard Nixon (Langella) following his resignation conducted by British talk show host David Frost (Sheen). We see more of Frost's side of the journey than we do Nixon's, but that makes the exchanges all the more compelling.

Adding spice to the story like a well-crafted meal are the excellent cast of supporting characters: Kevin Bacon as Nixon's adviser Jack Brennan, and on the Frost production team Matthew Macfadyen as John Birt, Sam Rockwell as James Reston, Jr. and Oliver Platt as Bob Zelnick. All do a magnificent job of conveying the tension surrounding both of their players' participation.

The weeks leading up to the interview are similar to what one would picture as training for a boxer preparing for a fight. There's discussion of tactics (moves) and some obvious hitting below the belt once the two are in the ring.

The dialogue is smart, funny and—even if not verbatim to the actual events—entertaining. The sense of empathy you're made feel for the former fallen President is shocking, but not unwelcome. In rooting for Frost (as the script so desperately asks you to), you can't help but respect the authenticity of Nixon's convictions.

All in all it was a brilliant, blood-pumping spotlight into an intersection of politics and entertainment that may never be repeated. And in this sea of tear-jerking films that are showing this season, that's pretty satisfying.

1 comment:

GGBlog said...

I agree that the film was exciting, with Langella fantastic.
You write, "even if not verbatim to the actual events" - I read an interview with (the real) Frost; he says: "And the first four days were not as disastrous as the play, in particular, makes out. But that was the underdog thing - they wanted to build up the odds. I remember talking to Peter once and saying: 'Peter, you know this isn't true'. And he sighed in a patient sort of way and said: 'David, this is a play, not a documentary'. Very patiently, you know'
I have posted my thoguhts here