Film Review

RON HOWARD’S FROST/NIXON — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

frost nixon

Frost/Nixon is one of those historical dramas with a predetermined ending that somehow never fails to be anything less than mightily entertaining. Reprising their stage roles, Michael Sheen is David Frost, the wild British talk show host who bought himself an interview with Richard Nixon, played by Frank Langella, after he had left office. Crisply directed by Ron Howard from a witty and detail-oriented script by Peter Morgan (who also wrote the stage version), Frost/Nixon is an intimate time-capsule, going back to a time when an ex-President could be gullible (and conceited) enough to agree to a series of interviews without really doing his due diligence. Nixon figured that Frost would be a push-over, as nothing that Frost had done professionally up to that point had suggested any real depth or societal importance. Nixon was blinded by cash. But boy did he get what he deserved. Essentially, and I’m not really spoiling anything that anyone with a nominal US history background wouldn’t know already, Frost got Nixon to admit guilt in his role as President during the taped interviews, which would then be broadcast on world-wide television (and have been released on DVD). The film has a terrific supporting cast of some of the best character actors in the business: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Bacon, Oliver Platt, Toby Jones, Matthey MacFadyen, Rebecca Hall, and Clint Howard all turn in vivid performances. Howard directs in an unfussy fashion with a simple elegance coming from his director of photography, Salvatore Totino, who has been working with Howard for over a decade. Shooting the film with a burnished, gold-brown glow gave off a feeling of yesteryear which was integral to the production. Again, you know where the story is going and how it’s going to end; it’s just a question of how good the film is in getting you there. This is easily one of Howard’s best films to date, and one that stands up on repeated viewings.

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