January 25, 2009

Oh My Goodness. I saw FROST/NIXON this afternoon, and it’s absolutely cracking.

It’s so refreshing to know that Sheen and Langella started with FROST/NIXON on the stage in London, followed it on its transfer to the US, and have (quite rightly) been cast for the screen. The result is that Sheen and Langella inhabit their characters so fully and convincingly, one doesn’t feel as though observing a caricature, but the real Frost and Nixon before them.

Frank Langella’s performance is truly Oscar-worthy, from his deep, coarse voice to the wonderfully underplayed comedy of the role, right through the the seething passion of the film’s only completely fictional moment – a late-night call between a drunken Nixon and seemingly defeated Frost that sets the stakes for the coming climax.

Refreshingly, neither Peter Morgan’s script nor Ron Howard’s spotless direction slate Nixon as the absurdly Machiavellian villain that the contemporary media and, by inference, popular memory can often perceive him as. Rather, we are allowed an insight into the humanity and painful burden of regret shouldered by a man who’s fall was so complete and irreparable, that one can’t help but feel at least a tinge of pity as he finally faces his failings and that all-important close-up betrays just how broken he feels.

More over, Michael Sheen’s Frost is far from the knight in shining armour, but more the popular entertainer hooked on celebrity and desperate to reinvigorate his fading career. His victory is hard won (and, indeed, deserved) but the compassion he appears to show at seeing Nixon utterly defeated saves him from becoming the villain of the tale.

Overall, an excellently entertaining and enthralling telling of one of the most significant moments in US political history, pulled off with the highest of standards. Shower this movie with awards. Now.


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