Wednesday, 6 June 2012

FILM: Frost/Nixon (8/10)

Absorbing historical drama based on the series of interviews between British chat show host David Frost and disgraced former US President Richard Nixon in 1977. 

The film is based on the play of the same name and Michael Sheen (Frost) and Frank Langella (Nixon) reprise their characters from the stage version. This continuity gives both actors confidence in their portrayals and both give terrific performances, in particular Langella, who earned an Oscar nod for his initially snarling and defiant and later personal and sombre portrayal of Nixon.

Frost/Nixon deals with the preparation for the interviews by both camps, an unfavoured Frost and team and an over-confident Nixon. The interviews are likened to a boxing match, with both participants retiring to their respective corners in between sparring sessions, and Nixon's chief of staff Jack Brennan (Kevin Bacon) temporarily 'throwing in the towel' on Nixon's behalf before Frost delivers the knock-out blow.   

In dealing with the most significant scandal in American politics, director Ron Howard has an engrossing subject matter to work with and he does a decent job behind the camera mixing in faux-documentary retrospective interviews with some of the bit part players with clever shots of the interviews from behind the camera.

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