Sunday, February 8, 2009
My goal for several years has been to see all the movies nominated for the best picture Oscar. As of today, I'm 2 for 5, closer than I've ever been in many years. Today's movie was "Frost/Nixon" directed by Ron Howard and starring Michael Sheen as David Frost and Frank Langella as Richard Nixon. There are several other superb performances by Sam Rockwell, Oliver Platt, Kevin Bacon and Jay White as Neil Diamond (don't ask, just see it for yourself...)
One of the marks of a great actor and movie for me is when I realize that at some point I've stopped watching the actor play a part, and I'm actually watching the character. This was definitely one of those cases. I found myself not watching Michael Sheen as Frost and Frank Langella as Nixon, but actually engrossed in seeing Frost and Nixon interact. I've always been a Frank Langella fan, and I became a Michael Sheen convert when I saw him in "The Queen" as Prime Minister Tony Blair. Neither actor disappointed in this film, repeating their respective roles from the stage play.
The film is tight and methodic in its buildup to the climatic interview scene on Watergate. My only beef with the film, without giving anything away, is one scene inserted into the film that is completely fictional. I understand the rationale for the scene and its use in furthering the story; however the purpose this scene was meant to serve could have been accomplished easily in some other way. It weakened one of the characters and took something away from the film as a whole.
Despite that, I still give the film four stars, and Frank Langella has my vote for best actor. For those of you who are old enough to remember the actual Frost/Nixon interviews this is a must see film. And for those of you who aren't old enough to remember them, this is your chance to peek in on a moment in history.