One of the things the American public were denied when Richard Nixon resigned from the office of president over his culpability in the Watergate affair, was seeing him face his day in court. He resignation nipped the impeachment proceedings in the bud and kept the people from realizing any real closure. It has also been claimed by many historians to be one of the pivotal events that lead to the erosion of confidence by the American people in their government. It’s an impression that lasts to this day.
The film is based on a play by Peter Morgan (writer of The Queen) and features the original stars from its London and Broadway performances. British born actor Michael Sheen plays David Frost and the American actor Frank Langella plays Nixon. At first, Langella seems an odd choice to play the unlikable Nixon but by the end of the film, his emulation of Nixon’s odd body language and speech patterns become quite convincing.
As the interviews begin, the lightweight Frost is way out of his league and Nixon bowls him over with political rhetoric but as things progress, Frost finds his way. This leads to an incendiary moment when Nixon admits facts that few thought he ever would. The pacing and events that lead up to this moment rival the tension in any great detective yarn and really draws you in.
In a holiday movie season that is surprisingly equal parts kiddy fodder and adult exploration, the Ron Howard directed Frost/Nixon is the reigning heavyweight champion and is a film that should not be missed.