Frost/Nixon (2008)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Frost/Nixon</strong> (2008)

(In theaters, January 2009) What an odd and fascinating film. Staging a series of conversations as if they were confrontations, Frost/Nixon is quiet without being dull, and relatively demanding in the knowledge is presumes from its audience. A number of the film’s more amusing lines, for instance, come from catching ex-president Richard Nixon saying things at odds with his behavior during the Watergate events: those without a certain knowledge of the time may not fully appreciate those moments. But even for younger viewers, Frost/Nixon spends enough time introducing its subject that most of the dramatic importance of the interviews between Nixon and journalist Frost is obvious early on. It’s also hard to avoid thinking about the parallels between the Nixon and Bush administrations, and to wonder if ever there will be a television interview to replace “the trial that he deserved”. While Frank Langella’s “Richard Nixon” doesn’t really look like the original, his portrayal of the man as a canny opponent is something of a revelation to those raised on thirty years of caricatures. The film is too dramatically enhanced by pseudo-interviews and artificial dramatic moments to be fully credible, and places far too much importance on its original subject, but that’s not really a serious problem for a film that does most the rest right, from good dialogue to lively pacing. Those who were waiting for intelligent adult cinema to come back to cineplexes may want to have a look at this one.

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