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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Film Review: Frost Nixon

I have never seen the Frost/Nixon interviews and have always been fascinated by Richard Nixon. I was excited about this movie and was upset I never got around to seeing the Broadway play. The film was entertaining and I enjoyed it, but wasn't blown away by it. I know it's hard to make a film with the majority of the audience knows how it ends. It's hard to build suspense, but this was the same task that Ron Howard was faced with Apollo 13 and he hit that one out of the park. I do let it slide with Frost Nixon because there is no action and it's about a interview, not explosions in space. I think the process of getting the money together, planning and research for the interview wasn't that interesting. Michael Sheen and Frank Langella are great and anytime they are on screen together it is gold. I felt the supporting cast were cardboard cut-outs boring their way through the story. With the exception of Kevin Bacon everyone gives a average performance and are emotionless cookie cutter characters. Sam Rockwell should have been great in this, but his character is typical and does nothing memorable.
The film trailer also gives away many of the best parts and moments that should have been funny or shocking were ruined. I think Oliver Stone's Nixon is a great film and it had some influence on this movie and possibly the play. Stone's film introduces a Richard Nixon who drinks too much and sabotages himself because secretly he wants to be caught. Frost Nixon is based on fact and Stone just exploited something that already existed,but the scene where a drunk Nixon calls Frost to challenge him had a Stone Nixon feel. Ron Howard makes a good film with great performances from it's lead actors, but the interview portion writes itself. The back story should have greater importance and be more interesting, if you can't do it then shortened it and give more time to the interview and the relationship between Frost and Nixon. 3.5 out of 5

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