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Frost/Nixon (2008)

May 25, 2009

7/10 Cheeseburgers

One more reason why I wished I had actually paid attention in history class throughout my life.

Frost/Nixon is a period piece about a series of investigative interviews held in 1977 between David Frost, a little-known talk show host with no journalistic experience, and Richard Nixon in hopes to get the ex-president to own up to the various cover-ups that led to his ultimate resignation.

It’s a good movie, but it doesn’t do a whole lot to revolutionize the “talking heads” genre. So if watching people talk for two hours isn’t your thing, Frost/Nixon isn’t going to be changing your mind any time soon. But I like “talking heads” movies, so I’m giving it my recommendation.

I really didn’t know much about the Frost/Nixon interviews up until this movie came out. Now, if you’re going into this thinking this is going to be a history lesson, like something along the lines of Thirteen Days, then not to worry. This is a movie that’s all about character development, not a re-enactment of a documentary. But even so, thanks to Nixon’s infamous presidency, the movie’s subject matter does a good job of holding your interest if you’ve never heard of the debates whatsoever.

The story of David Frost and his rag-tag team of investigators that are hell-bent on bringing Nixon to justice has its moments, but when push comes to shove, this movie’s all about Nixon. And Frank Langella does one hell of a job putting him to screen.

Even though Langella doesn’t look like Richard Nixon, it’s pretty much the only thing about Nixon that he doesn’t have down pat. It’s one wild show he puts on. You notice the physical differences for about the first five minutes, then you just get lost in him. It wasn’t long before I was thinking “This guy I’m watching here, this is the real Nixon. That other Nixon I learned about in high school is a damn impostor.”

There’s a reason he got nominated for an Oscar and he really makes this movie worth watching. He’s one of these guys that’s been in a million things but you can never remember his name, and apparently it’s high time he started being recognized. Making the audience feel sympathy for Richard Nixon is a feat in itself, but Langella does it like he’s been playing Tricky Dick all his life.

The directing is fine, the writing is pretty good, but like I said, Langella’s the reason to see Frost/Nixon. So keep your eyes open for the next movie he’s starring in.

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