Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rainy day movie review

Last month, I got a chance to attend a screening of Frost/Nixon at the DGA theatre on West 57th Street in Manhattan.

The Universal Studios film is based upon the British stage play of the same name, written by screenwriter Peter Morgan.

The subject matter is a series of televised interviews conducted by British broadcaster David Frost of the former president of the United States, Richard Nixon in 1977. Both Michael Sheen (Frost) and Frank Langella (Nixon) reprised their stage roles for the film.

I thought that the film did an excellent job of humanizing a political character most often portrayed as inhuman. It did clearly show the villainous side of the former president, but it also demonstrated his occasional warmth and sense of humor.

After the screening we got a chance to talk openly with the director Ron Howard and one of the film's stars, Kevin Bacon.

I knew that both men, like myself, were strongly left of center politically. In fact both had campaigned for Barack Obama this past year. Based on his portrayal, I was curious to know if Ron Howard’s opinion of Richard Nixon had changed as he researched for this film.

Howard told me that his goal was to give Nixon dimension, but not to leave out his obvious character flaws. Howard pointed out that there is one thing that people tend to forget. Nixon, by today’s standards was more of a centrist. He did fear the extreme left, but he was equally paranoid of the extreme right.

The neoconservatives that lay claim to the Republican Party today are nothing like Richard Nixon or even Ronald Reagan. The extreme religious right currently runs today’s conservative party and it bares little to no resemblance to the Republican Party in the 1970s and 80s.

I highly recommend this film to anyone interested in a fascinating character study dramatized by two extraordinary actors. It is a riveting verbal battle between two strong willed men, both with everything on the line. It is a well-acted and beautifully directed political piece portraying one of the most important interviews of our lifetime.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,


Blogger Dusty said...

Great review!!! I watched the interviews as a young adult and was amazed by some of Frost's questions and they method he used to ask them.

I so want to see this's about an important part of our political history...and yes Nixon was centrist..and people do forget that. He started things w/China.

1:55 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home