Frost / Nixon400 million people were waiting for the truth.
By Adam Frazier
"I'm saying, that when the president does it, that means it is not illegal."
searching for the relevance in Ron Howard's latest film, "Frost/Nixon,"
need look no further. Those fateful words, delivered by former
president Richard Nixon in a series of post-Watergate television
interviews with British talk show host David Frost, carry just as much
weight in today's political climate as they did in the late ‘70s.
the Watergate scandal, Nixon's approval rating fell to a disastrous
23%, just a mere percentage point away from being tied with president
Harry S. Truman for the lowest in our nation's history. With president
George W. Bush's approval rating in steady decline, recently hitting
25%, due to a drawn out war and a failing economy, it seems that
history does in fact repeat itself.
"Frost/Nixon" is the
big-screen film adaptation of British screenwriter and playwright Peter
Morgan's 2006 Tony award-winning play. Morgan, whose writing credits
include "The Queen" and "The Last King of Scotland," also penned the
film adaptation's screenplay.
The film, a dramatic retelling of
those post-Watergate television interviews between David Frost and
president Nixon, stars Michael Sheen as Frost and Frank Langella as
Nixon- roles both actors should feel quite comfortable in after
performing them hundreds of times on stage.
"Frost / Nixon"
boils down to a battle of wits between two unlikely adversaries. Why
would former president Richard Nixon agree to do an interview with a
British talk show host of all people? The same reason anyone does
anything. Money. The drama heightens as David Frost hires a team of
investigators and reporters to get down to the nitty-gritty of the
Watergate scandal. Meanwhile, the season political veteran Nixon
prepares for any and every question that can be thrown at him.
Frank Langella doesn't really resemble Nixon that much, he completely
embodies the character in a way that makes you begin seeing the former
president instead of Langella. He disappears into the role in such an
elegant, surreal way - certainly one of the best portrayals of a
president in cinema.
In the blue corner, Michael Sheen's Frost
is equally as impressive. Sheen, like his counterpart Langella, melts
away and all that is left is the character. Obviously these two are as
comfortable in their roles as Frost is in a pair of Italian loafers -
but supporting actors like Sam Rockwell, Kevin Bacon and Oliver Platt
also step up to the plate and deliver excellent performances that
further flesh out the tone and texture of the ‘70s America political
"Frost / Nixon" is Ron Howard's best film. That's my
opinion. That's my critique. Peter Morgan's excellent play has made a
wonderful transition to the big screen - a rare feat in its own right.
On top of that, add award-worthy performances and a gripping, drama
doused story, and you've got one of the best films of 2008.