Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Film Review: FROST/NIXON (2008)

Director: Ron Howard
Running time: 117 mins (approx)
Certificate (UK): 15

Watched on Sky+ Monday 28th December 2009.


Based on a play by Peter Morgan, this film tells the story of how the British TV presenter David Frost got the interview of a lifetime with disgraced ex-president Richard Nixon. It also tells how Frost got Nixon to admit to his wrongdoings in the Watergate affair that caused his resignation in 1974. The interviews took place in a house in California in 1977.

The film begins with David Frost having the idea to interview Richard Nixon soon after his resignation. A deal is struck with the ex-president’s people and Frost just has to secure the backing and a deal with an American TV network. None of them are interested and so Frost decides to do the interviews anyway and syndicate them afterwards. This leaves him with the problem of financing the whole thing himself. He assembles a team, James Reston, Jr., an American political writer who has written books on Nixon, John Birt, a producer from England and Bob Zelnick, a TV editor from America. Nixon’s staunchest ally in this is his former chief of staff, Jack Brennan. At first the interviews go well for the former president, Frost allows him to ramble on, avoiding any sensitive issues. As time passes though, he becomes much more aggressive but the former President is a worthy adversary. We get to the final day’s filming and they are going to talk about Watergate when Frost has a revelation. I’m not going to give it away though, but it’s really worth seeing.

Technically, a very well made film, it’s right up there with films like Apollo 13 (1995), by the same director, for getting the audience involved with the subject matter. Great performances from the two main protagonists, Frank Langella as Richard Nixon and Michael Sheen as David Frost. Honourable mentions also go to, Sam Rockwell as James Reston, Jr., Kevin Bacon as Jack Brennan, Matthew Macfadyen as John Birt, Oliver Platt as Bob Zelnick and Rebecca Hall as Caroline Cushing, Frost’s love interest.

I found it a very compelling film to watch, beautifully paced and brilliantly acted. These are events that happened in my lifetime, although I must admit, as a teenager at the time they did pass me by somewhat. I didn’t expect to enjoy this film as much as I did and I highly recommend it.

My score: 8.2/10

IMDb Site: http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0870111/
Official Site: http://www.frostnixon.net/
Trailer: http://uk.imdb.com/rg/VIDEO_PLAY/LINK/video/imdb/vi3600351257/

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