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Frost/Nixon (2008)

Director:
Ron Howard
COUNTRY
USA/UK/France
GENRE
Drama/Political
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Frost/Nixon
RUNNING TIME
122 minutes
Producer:
Brian Grazer
Ron Howard
Eric Fellner
Tim Bevan
Screenwriter (based on his play):
Peter Morgan


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR/ACTRESS RATING
Richard Nixon Frank Langella
David Frost Michael Sheen
James Reston, Jr. Sam Rockwell
Jack Brennan Kevin Bacon
John Birt Matthew Macfayden
Bob Zelnick Oliver Platt
Caroline Cushing Rebecca Hall

 

Review

This solid, comprehensive dramatization is based upon a series of interviews between the ambitious British interviewer David Frost and the former president of the United States Richard Nixon. As it was Nixon's first official interview since his resignation, it was an anticipated piece of television, and although it didn't bring an upheaval of new information to the cause, the interview did paint a picture of a remorseful and deeply complex man.

While Ron Howard's conversion of Peter Morgan's play Frost/Nixon makes for a thoroughly interesting film with some remarkable aspects, it also suffers from being a rather self-absorbed piece which seems to deem itself the conclusive source on Richard Nixon and the Watergate incident. Bear in mind that the essence of the incident had already been fully investigated, and the information concerning the level of Nixon's specific involvement was merely academical at this point. What Frost/Nixon does capture, however, largely through Frank Langella's masterful, scrutinising performance of Nixon himself, is an interesting take on some of the man's more personal and private mannerisms and characteristics - mostly comments and bits of conversation off-camera, which, subject to reliable sources, depict the complexity of the man and the situation.

In the end, Frost/Nixon feels like a film overstating its own significance - at least historically. The film actually works best as a document of the mechanisms of media and journalism, presenting a detailed account of the entire process of conceiving, setting up and carrying out a large-scale interview. Director Howard is at his best when parallelling the interview situation as a boxing fight, with two men with a lot to gain or lose (seemingly) jabbing away at each other. As such, Frost/Nixon is as a stylish and highly interesting tug of war between two highly capable duellists.

 

Copyright 24.1.2009 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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