Frost / Nixon [DVD] [2008]

Frost / Nixon [DVD] [2008]

Frost / Nixon [DVD] [2008]

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BARCODE: 5050582614343
Oscar-winning director Ron Howard brings to the screen writer Peter Morgan's ( The Queen, Last King of Scotland) electrifying battle between Richard Nixon, the disgraced president with a legacy to save, and David Frost, a jet-setting television personality with a name to make, in the untold story of the historic encounter that changed both: Frost/Nixon. Reprising their roles from Morgan's stageplay are Frank Langella, who won a Tony for his portrayal of Nixon, and Michael Sheen, who originally played the part of Frost onstage in London and New York.

For three years after being forced from office, Nixon remained silent. But in summer 1977, the steely, cunning former commander-in-chief agreed to sit down for one all-inclusive interview to confront the questions of his time in office and the Watergate scandal that ended his presidency.

Nixon surprised everyone in selecting Frost as his televised confessor, intending to easily outfox the breezy British showman and secure a place in the hearts and minds of Americans. Likewise, Frost's team harbored doubts about their boss' ability to hold his own. But as cameras rolled, a charged battle of wits resulted. Would Nixon evade questions of his role in one of the nation's greatest disgraces? Or would Forst confound critics and bravely demand accountability from the man who had built a career out of stonewalling? Over the course of their encounter, each man would reveal his own insecurities, ego, and reserves of dignity--ultimately setting aside posturing in a stunning display of unvarnished truth.

It’s not always that a stage play translates particularly well to the medium of movies. But for anyone considering such a challenge in the future, Frost/Nixon is surely a fine template to follow. In the capable hands of director Ron Howard, the extraordinary story of how a then-fairly low profile television interviewer managed to bring the disgraced former President of the United States to account is, at best, absolutely riveting. Much of the reason for this is the two leading performances, which are both absolutely exceptions.

The awards attention for Frost/Nixon has been directed towards Frank Langella, and truly he’s an actor long overdue some recognition. Here, as ex-President Nixon, he’s flat-out brilliant: a complex, intriguing character portrayed with real measure and expertise. It’s unfair, though, that Michael Sheen has been overlooked by some. Fresh from portraying Tony Blair in The Queen, Sheen is once more brilliant here, injecting Frost with erratic, on-the-edge fallibility that sets up the film’s final act extremely well. Now you can argue, with some right, that Frost/Nixon flattens out some of the facts to its own liking, and certainly, the portrayal of David Frost doesn’t seem to do the man too many favors.

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