From Academy Award-winning director, Ron Howard,
comes the electrifying, untold story behind one of the most
unforgettable moments in history.
disgraced President Richard Nixon agreed to an interview with
jet-setting television personality, David Frost, he thought
he'd found the key to saving his tarnished legacy. But, with
a name to make and a reputation to overcome, Frost became
one of Nixon's most formidable adversaries and engaged the
leader in a charged battle of wits that changed the face of
brilliant portrayals by Frank Langella and Michael Sheen,
FROST/NIXON is the fascinating and suspenseful story of truth,
accountability, secrets and lies.
After watching this Ron Howard directed movie, this reviewer feels sad for the local audiences who never got the opportunity to watch this very fine piece of work. While many may think that Howard is synonymous to blockbusters like The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Angels & Demons (2009), it is really a pity that one does not know that this brilliant work existed. We will not go on ranting about how this movie was pulled out from the theatrical release schedule (we will never understand marketing concerns, or so they say), and focus our attention on the wonderful experience we had while watching this movie.
Based on Peter Morgan’s stage play, this movie adaptation (it’s definitely a plus to have Morgan writing the screenplay) tells the battle between Richard Nixon, the American disgraced president, and David Frost, a celebrity host who enjoys all things shiny and fancy. Three years after his resignation, Nixon remained silent. But in a move that can only be deemed as cunning and calculative, hr agreed to have an exclusive interview to confront questions, notably those of the Watergate scandal that ended his presidency. As cameras rolled for the interview, a battle between Frost and Nixon ensued.
This idea may not sound terribly exciting to be adapted for screen, but you must watch it yourself to see how the filmmakers have skillfully translated this eloquent story into a very engaging watch. Seeing two suited men talking it out doesn’t sound very exhilarating, but the feeling you get is one of watching a sweat churning boxing match, except that words are used instead of punches. Thanks to the nifty writing of Morgan and the precise direction of Howard, you end up being affected by both men’s emotions and the actions they take to come out tops in this intellectually charged war of wits.
And although Sean Penn has taken home the Oscar for his performance in Gus Van Sant’s Milk (2008), this reviewer is officially sore that Frank Langella was robbed of that Best Actor statuette, Yes, the 71 year old veteran actor beats Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), the original contender he was rooting for, hands down, Langella’s unhurried and sturdy portrayal of the dishonoured is one which we will remember years on. Couple that with assuring performances from Charlie Sheen (we hope he will get his deserved recognition very soon), and supporting actors like Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell and Matthew MacFayden, and you have gotten yourself a 122 minute power packed showcase of fine acting – something which we regret we never got the chance to watch on the big screen.
This Code 3 DVD contains a whole load of Bonus Features for the fan in you to ogle on. The Feature Commentary with Director Ron Howard provides a detailed insight about the movie. Howard’s determination to adapt the play into a movie (he admits this is a big challenge) makes him a talented filmmaker in his own right. There are 22 minutes of Deleted Scenes which are very intriguing to watch – including them in the film would make the runtime two and a half hours, but the fan in this reviewer probably won’t feel the length. The Making of Frost/Nixon is a 23 minute featurette which has Howard and Morgan talking about the adrenaline rush a play like that can come to life on screen. They are joined by the cast memebers who talk about their experiences on set. The seven minute The Real Interview shows you footage of the original 1977 interview. The intriguing interview is interspersed by the filmmakers’ thoughts about the interview. In the very poignant six minute The Nixon Library, we visit the museum which plays a very important role in the Watergate incident.
The disc’s visual transfer complements the nostalgic 1970s feel, and there are English, Japanese or Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital audio tracks for you to choose from.
Review by John Li
Posted on 12 September 2009