Saturday, April 18, 2009

Frost/Nixon DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Oscar-Nominated Adaptation of Broadway Play Arrives on DVD

On August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned from the Presidency in disgrace after becoming hopelessly implicated in the Watergate cover-up. He retreated from the public eye for two and one-half years, until he agreed to a series of TV interviews with David Frost with the hope of resurrecting his tarnished image.
Frost, a British talk show host whose own career was floundering, paid the former president $600,000 plus a percentage of the profits for the exclusive opportunity. And that investment proved to be worth the risk, as over 45 million viewers tuned in to watch the eagerly-anticipated tete-a-tete. However, anyone expecting to see Nixon make an admission of guilt was ultimately left disappointed, as he remained rather emphatic in his denial of any knowledge of a cover-up during their uneventful chat.
Nonetheless, the truth didn’t get in the way of this version of the historic showdown which culminates with a confession by Tricky Dick. Despite relying on revisionist history, the movie earned five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Director (Ron Howard), Actor (Frank Langella), Script Adaptation (Peter Morgan) and Editing.
The film is heartily recommended provided you aren’t likely to be bothered by the fact that its most compelling moments have been completely fabricated.
One such critical contrivance revolves around a phone call a drunk Nixon (Langella) never really made to Frost (Michael Sheen) in the middle of the night, another around the President’s capitulation and acknowledgement that he had committed a crime.
A belated opportunity for any still-embittered Baby Boomers to feel vindicated and to bask in Nixon’s humiliation.

Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for profanity.
Running time: 122 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, audio commentary by director Ron Howard, and “The Making of” plus two other featurettes.

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