Oscars 2009: FROST\NIXON – Review

NIXON: Those parties of yours.The ones I read about in the papers. Tell me…do you actually enjoy them?osc.JPG

FROST: Yes, of course.

NIXON: Really? You have no idea how fortunate that makes you. Liking people.And being liked having that …facility with people.That lightness.That charm. I don’t have it. Never have. Makes you wonder why I chose a life which hinged on being liked. I’m better suited to a life of thought. Debate. Intellectual discipline. Maybe we got it wrong. Maybe you should have been the politician.And I the rigorous interviewer.

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The adapted screenplay of FROST\NIXON takes a dramatic and spell-binding take on Nixon’s life in the first few months after his resignation. The movie captivates, but at another level fails to shed any new light on the person. The script is engaging and uses a unique medium of story telling by switching between first person accounts of the FROST\NIXON interviews. An hour after the movie you are thoroughly impressed, but an hour later you wonder what the point was.

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FROST\NIXON is a ‘talkathlon’ as the NYtimes review calls it, but nonetheless a highly watchable movie which does not slip even for a minute. Throughout the movie, thanks to the intimidating screen presence of Frank Langella as Nixon, we are the edge of our seats and can feel the tension building up.
Ron Howard’s (Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind, Da Vinci Code) FROST\NIXON is nominated for Best Picture, but doesn’t really make the cut. It is not Oscarish. Frank Langella’s portrayal of Nixon is way ahead of Anthony Hopkin’s act in Oliver Stone’s ‘Nixon’ and may just earn this man a well deserved Academy award for Best Actor.

Oscar Synopsis: Following his 1974 resignation, Richard Nixon withdraws from public life until talk show host interviews.  For Frost, the much-anticipated event offers a chance to establish himself as a serious journalist, while the disgraced former president regards the interviews as an opportunity to reestablish himself on the political stage.

Richard Nixon is a disturbing image. There is a certain compelling depth to Nixon’s tragedy in comparison to similar failures like W. Be it all time classics like Oliver Stone’s Nixon (starring Anthony Hopkins as Nixon), and Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford starrer ‘All the President’s Men’ or even the docu-fiction accounts of Watergate scandal, Nixon, provides enough powder to trigger debates at a deeper level. The deep and painful insecurities of the only man who had to resign the Presidency of the United States is summed up well in Ron Howard’s FROST\NIXON when Frank Langella playing Nixon asks Michael Sheen playing David Frost –

“No matter how many awards or column inches are written about you, or how high the elected office is, it’s still not enough. We still feel like the little man. The loser they told us we were, a hundred times, the smart asses in college, the high ups. The well-born. The people who’s respect we really wanted. Really craved. And isn’t that why we work so hard now, why we fight for every inch? Scrambling our way up in undignified fashion. If we’re honest for a minute, if we reflect privately, just for a moment, if we allow ourselves a glimpse into that shadowy place we call our soul, isn’t that why we’re here? Now? The two of us. Looking for a way back into the sun. Into the limelight. Back onto the winner’s podium. Because we can feel it slipping away. We were headed, both of us, for the dirt. The place the snobs always told us that we’d end up. Face in the dust, humiliated all the more for having tried. So pitifully hard. Well, to *hell with that*! We’re not going to let that happen, either of us. We’re going to show those bums, we’re going to make ’em choke on our continued success. Our continued headlines! Our continued awards! And power! And glory! We are gonna make those mother fuckers *choke*! “

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