AlmostSideways.com


HomeAbout UsMoviesTop ListsArticle ArchivesContact UsOscar Buzz!
Go to AlmostSideways Sports
Loading


 
New Releases
July 24, 2020

July 10, 2020

July 3, 2020

June 24 / 26, 2020

June 19, 2020



June 12, 2020


June 5, 2020

May 29, 2020
May 22, 2020
May 13 / 15, 2020


 

Frost/Nixon

(2008)

Directed by

Ron Howard

 Frost/Nixon Poster

Review by Terry Plucknett

 

Ron Howard has become one of the most respected actor-turned-directors in the industry.  In my opinion, he has directed three masterpieces.  First was Apollo 13, the true story of the 1970 moon mission that turned into a fight for survival.  Next was A Beautiful Mind, a true story about a brilliant mathematician that loses control of his beautiful mind.  His third masterpiece, in my opinion, is Frost/Nixon, the true story of the interviews that took place between David Frost and exiled and disgraced President Richard Nixon.  I have begun to think that Ron Howard should be behind every 20th Century historical true story.

This film starts with the resignation of President Nixon (Frank Langella) as he was about to be impeached.  He goes off to live in exile in California, while America is angered with his criminal activity and how he got away with it without ever admitting he was wrong.  Next we see David Frost (Michael Sheen), a popular British talk show host who has had some success in America, but was looking for a way to jump into super stardom.  Then he had an idea to get an interview with the former President.  After some deliberation, and the exchange of a lot of money, the interview is set up.  Frost hires a close friend to produce the taping (Matthew MacFadyen), as well as two experts on Nixon’s administration to help research material for the interview (Sam Rockwell, Oliver Platt).  However, soon some conflict arises in Frost’s camp as the team sees this interview as an opportunity to put Nixon on trial for the crimes he committed.  Frost on the other hand simply sees the potential publicity and ratings, not thinking of the implications and impact this interview might have.  After all the prep, Nixon and Frost battle it out in front of the cameras in some magical exchanges, ending in a confrontation on the Watergate scandal.  You would never think you could be on the edge of your seat watching two men sitting and talking, but you find yourself doing just that the entire time.

This film is driven by the two leading roles played by two men that are not merely acting, but are able to completely transform and embody these two characters.  One agreement Ron Howard made with the studio in agreeing to bring this play adaptation to the big screen was that he could cast the original stage actors in the roles of both David Frost and Richard Nixon.  Their experience and knowledge of these two characters is shown from start to finish.  Frank Langella, who won a Tony for playing the former President in the stage version, is astounding as a down-and-out Nixon trying to restore his reputation.  Equally as amazing is Michael Sheen, who received much praise for playing Tony Blair in 2006’s The Queen, and shows his versatility as the charismatic talk show host that soon realizes he needs to learn how to be an interviewer.  Ron Howard made a good decision in re-casting these two as their personas are pitch-perfect and their chemistry is electric.  On top of this, the supporting characters are just as convincing, stepping in and out of the spotlight when asked to.  These performances include MacFadyen, Rockwell, and Platt as Frost’s team as well as Toby Jones as Nixon’s publicist and the very underrated Kevin Bacon as Nixon’s right hand man.

The script is remarkable, after being adapted by Peter Morgan who also wrote the play.  The story is told from a documentary perspective, with interview-type sessions with most of the supporting characters that take place years after the story takes place.  This adds to the illusion of this being historically accurate and the actors fully taking on each character’s persona.  Nothing in this film seems artificial at any point, which is due to the performances, the script, and the brilliant direction by Ron Howard.  I find it no coincidence that Ron Howard’s greatest films are when he tells true stories from the middle of the 20th Century.  He has an amazing ability to bring true stories back to life and make them as interesting and compelling as they were when they actually happened.  This could be due to the fact that he lived through this time period in the prime of his life and witnessed all these events first hand.  It could be an immense respect for the story and motivation to get it right.  Honestly, I don’t care what makes him so effective in these films, as long as he keeps making them.

This film is able to accomplish something special in bringing back to life a pivotal point in our nation’s history.  You find yourself rooting for both Frost and Nixon as they both fight to save their credibility.  It completely fascinates you from start to finish and leaves you feeling entertained and informed.  It is one of the year’s best, and one of Ron Howard’s best, and considering Ron Howard’s catalog of films, that’s saying something.

Rating:

 


New Reviews

Featured Podcast Review
80th Anniversary

"Come to the Stable" Review

Podcast Review - Todd

Podcast Review - Zach

Podcast Review - Todd
20th Anniversary

Podcast Review - Terry
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? poster
Podcast Review - Terry
20th Anniversary

Featured Podcast Deep Dive

Featured Podcast Review

Podcast Review - Todd

Podcast Review - Zach

Podcast Review - Terry

Featured Podcast Review
"Come to the Stable" Film

Podcast Retro Review

Podcast Review - Zach

Podcast Review - Todd

Podcast Review - Zach
20th Anniversary

Podcast Review - Terry

Podcast Review - Zach
Yankee Doodle Dandy Poster
Podcast Review - Terry
 


AlmostSideways.com
Est. 2008