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From Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard comes the electrifying, untold story behind one of the most unforgettable moments in history. When disgraced President Richard Nixon agreed to an interview with jet-setting television personality, David Frost, he thought he’d found the key to saving his tarnished legacy. But, with a name to make and a reputation to overcome, Frost became one of Nixon’s most formidable adversaries and engaged the leader in a charged battle of wits that changed the face of politics forever. Featuring brilliant portrayals by Frank Langella and Michael Sheen, Frost/Nixon is the fascinating and suspenseful story of truth, accountability, secrets and lies.
Sounds like a good match: a historical drama from the author of The Queen, but with an American subject in the generational wheelhouse of director Ron Howard. And so Peter Morgan's Tony-winning play morphs into a Hollywood movie under the wing of the Apollo 13 guy. Morgan's subject is a curious moment of post-Watergate shakeout: British TV host David Frost's long-form interviews with ex-President Richard Nixon, conducted in 1977. It was a big ratings success at the time, justifying the somewhat controversial decision to cut an enormous check for Nixon's services. The movie adds a mockumentary note to the otherwise straightforward style, having direct-to-camera addresses from various aides to Frost and Nixon (played by the likes of Oliver Platt, Sam Rockwell, and Kevin Bacon); these basically tell us things we already glean from the rest of the movie, adding unnecessary melodrama and upping the stakes. In this curious scheme, the success of Frost's career, which could bellyflop if he doesn't get something worthwhile out of the cagey, long-winded Nixon, is given somewhat more weight than the actual revelations of the interviews. Even with these questionable storytelling decisions, there's still the spectacle of two actors going at it hammer and tongs, and on that level the movie offers some heat. Michael Sheen, who played Tony Blair not only in The Queen but also in another Morgan-scripted project, The Deal, is adept at catching David Frost's blow-dried charm, as well as the determination beneath it. Frank Langella's physical performance as Nixon is superb, and he certainly can be a commanding actor, though veteran Nixon-watchers might find that he misses a certain depth of self-pity in the man. Both actors were retained from the original stage production, a rare thing in Hollywood--and probably Howard's best decision of the project. --Robert Horton
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It is a good homeschool resource to explain how the Watergate Scandal affected Americans view of the Presidency and how media feeds that view, either for better or for worse, though I wouldn't think it suitable for anyone younger than middle school because of the complexities of the issues presented.
Acting is good. I liked Michael Sheen as Frost. It took me a minute to get used to the Nixon portrayal but by the end I loved his performance. Kevin Bacon seems to nail the chief of staff role.
Overall, It was a decent movie based on true events with the usual hollywood license to make the event seem more dramatic. I enjoyed seeing the battle play out in the various days of interviews and final interview was very satisfying. I'll admit Director Ron Howard did a good job of making a movie about interviews watchable. That's not an easy feat. The mind games played out like a boxing match that was enjoyable. I didn't really like the faked documentary style as it made it feel more phony to me than real. And the confessionals while overall were interesting, a few times stopped the forward motion of the movie to listen to the character perspective. Also, the confessionals are misleading because what they said isn't what that person actually said - it's just what they "might have said" written in by the writing team. Watching this film in today's world 2018, does lend itself to some relevance since the current U.S. president is a very similar character and very similar actions, words, and scandals. It seems like especially on the obstruction answers and if the president does it, it can't be illegal, you could literally shoot this movie again and replace Nixon with Trump. While this movie was good, I enjoyed seeing a horrible guy taken down by the end of the interviews and the film, I can only hope and pray, we can get a similar movie instead involving the current president. Outside of all that, This movie was an Oscar nominee in it's time but I don't think it's add the movie collection worthy. I'm glad I watched it but probably watch the real interviews instead of this movie if I want to learn more.
Frost/Nixon takes the time and effort to do its research in set design, costume design, accurate accents, accurate information, meticulous movements of characters to make them more true to their real life personas. Peter Morgan's screenplay is as nuanced and detailed as any film's script can be written.
Michael Sheen is so deep and complex as the television host David Frost. He balances Frost's playboy nature with the seriousness of his situation. Frank Langella is peerless as President Richard Nixon. He captures Nixon's self assured nature and self serving attitude. Langella as nails Nixon's accent and facial tendencies as well as his penchant for historical knowledge flaunting. Frost/Nixon's cast is incredible front to back.
Furthermore, Frost/Nixon's supporting cast is so passionate and impressive. I am particularly impressed by Kevin Bacon, Toby Jones, and Sam Rockwell's acting. They portrayal real men with a level of respect and honesty rare in historical dramas about more controversial figures.
Lastly, Hans Zimmer composed a wonderful score to Frost/Nixon. He understates the tone for each scene with inquisitive musical cues to build a sense of suspense. Frost/Nixon's atmosphere largely stems from his beautiful score.
In all, Frost/Nixon persists as an accurate depiction of Nixon's final moments in the spotlight of American history. We witness a complete recreation of the most turbulent times in the history of the American Presidency. Frost/Nixon is just an awesome film!
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And as if these two top leads weren't good enough - you also get Sam Rockwell as James Reston, Jr. (author and the conscience of the people), Kevin Bacon as Jack Brennan (Nixon's Chief Of Staff and right-hand man), Matthew MacFadyen as the London Weekend Television Director of Programs John Birt, Oliver Platt as ABC-News Producer Bob Zelnick and Rebecca Hall (of "Parade's End" fame) as Caroline Cushing - Frost's recently acquired sexy and stylish girlfriend. Other heavyweights include a brilliant Toby Jones as the hygiene-obsessed Irving "Swifty" Lazar (an agent who secured 2.3 million dollars for Nixon's Memoirs) and Andy Milder (of "Weeds") as Frank Gannon - a friend of chat-show queen Diane Sawyer.
This is a film about politics that needs a script smart enough to decipher its deceptive warrens for an audience - and screenplay writer Peter Morgan delivers again and again in powerhouse dialogues that both entertain and inform (adapted for screen from his own stage play). This is one of those rare films that has a moral centre and takes sides. Yet it also allows the thing to breath - for Nixon the human being to emerge - and gives you enough room to make up your own mind - hero or villain - or both.
I was 19 when these staggeringly intimate and loaded interviews happened in 1977 - and still remember their impact as they were broadcast around the world. Tricky Dicky had clearly thought that chat-show lightweight David Frost was simply going to be just anther easy manipulation. The 37th Commander In Chief also figured that he'd grab his $600,000 fee whilst simultaneously talking himself back into the nation's heart (as he'd done before the shame and blame of the Watergate break-ins and his resignation ahead of almost certain Presidential impeachment).
The attention to Seventies detail is truly fantastic - the archive footage of the Watergate Scandal, the Senate hearings that followed, the resignation of a sitting American President for the first time in 200 years on August 7th 1974, the garish clothes considered the height of style at the time, the reproduction of the Departure Area at Heathrow in 1977, the Beverley Hilton Hotel room where Frost and his people were encamped. Ron Howard even got two actual locations - 'La Casa Pacifica' - Nixon's mini White House home on the beaches of San Clemente and The Smith's home in Monarch Bay (also in California) where the 4 days and 28 hours of one-on-one no holes barred interviews were conducted.
Because Frost was a star at the time in both Australia and Britain and under pressure to deliver - the film smartly shows us that he had on occasion to be reminded by his aides of the worst crime of all - Nixon using the interviews as a way to exonerate himself with the electorate (and on his terms). But credit must go to the canny Frost who had other ideas - finally pushing the old Republican dog into admissions during their Titanic word spars. And of course that famous breakthrough television moment when Nixon finally offered up something of an 'apology' to the hurting American people - combined with what appeared to be a genuine tear of regret in his defensive bloodshot eyes. But even after it was all over and he was leaving The Smiths home like a beaten Gladiator - Nixon's media instinct kicked in. He walked over to a bystander to pet a Dachshund dog in her arms for all the cameras to see (some even saying that if there had been a mother and baby nearby - he'd have used them too). It spoke volumes of the man.
In the end was it all a way back in - a ploy - setting the ground for his next few decades of public works? Could you actually believe anything this consummate evader said? The relevancy of the film to today's political landscape couldn't be more apt - and acts as a warning - that we are governed by the 'truth tailored to suit' rather that just the 'truth'. To this day - the general consensus is that Richard Nixon did huge damage to American Politics while presiding over their most pointless and destructive war - Vietnam. And Gerald Ford's all-is-forgiven pardon in the next Presidency felt like a move and not a genuine exoneration.
The 2009 BLU RAY picture is properly gorgeous and the colours of the time beautifully rendered. You see so much detail - the flared trousers and plunging halter backs, afghan coats and velvet furnishings, bottle green chandeliers and orange Perspex signs. The EXTRAS are pleasingly long and informative too - over one hour of them including the Real Interviews (you really see how they captured the taste and feel of the room). AUDIO Set Up has three languages - English, Spanish Castellano and German; SUBTITLES are in English SDH, Spanish Castellano and German.
"Frost/Nixon" is a film that stays with you - a sort of historical reminder that accountability in public office must always remain transparent - lest the lies of our handlers and the hissing of snakes swallow us all...
Ron Howard adopts a fantastic style halfway between live, grainy, shaky and free camera, and a certain controll and stillness, with no showing off.
And a great editing, probably thought while shooting and not aftwards. where words, expressions, details, are captured and linked each other to create a vision that goes beyond a mere representation of the facts.
Excellent blu ray
Both Michael Sheen as Frost and Frank Langella as Nixon give terrific perfomances, but to me the real star is the script, which allows the actors to demonstrate the complexity of their characters and of the situation which they had created by arranging the interviews. It does use dramatic licence, and some critics thought that it made Frost's interviews more important historically than they really were. But as a film, this really works and grabs the attention from the very beginning. Although it has fictionalised the events somewhat, it is in an attempt to demonstrate in a dramatic way the characters of David Frost and Richard Nixon.
The film was nominated for a number of awards.
The film is full of superb acting performances. Frank Langella is the star as a brooding, tormented and nigh-on demented Nixon at times. Sheen is superb as Frost managing to juggle a seemingly native superciliousness with an inner resolve to prove that he is more than the lightweight talk-show bunny for which he is initially dismissed by almost all around him. Kevin Bacon is also excellent as Nixon's bulldog like lawyer. Sam Rockwell from "Jesse James and Robert Ford" is also energetic and convincing as part of Frost's investigative team. Matthew Macfayden is a very good foil to Frost, and only Oliver Platt is a little weak as Rockwell's colleague. He is partly let down by having too much of the film's rarest resource: occasionally duff dialogue.
For the most part, as a stage-adaptation should offer, the dialogue is very good. Perhaps the boxing metaphors as a description of the verbal contest are occasionally overdone - Langella's comment to Bacon about "throwing in the towel" comes off a little half-baked. My only other minor criticisms would be that the film is a bit of a slow-burner, although gripping once the two leads have met. And I also found that Rebecca Hall's role as Miss Cushing seemed somewhat expendable. It seemed to me more the traditional economic wisdom that without any prominent female roles the film is not sufficiently relatable for half of ticket-buying humanity than genuine dramaturgy. I am of course not advocating films with fewer female roles! Just questioning how well managed they were in Frost/Nixon.
Minor gripes aside this is a compelling grown-up drama, a worthy Oscar candidate and a film well worth seeing. Why not buy the DVD? There are plenty of close-ups were seeing every pore of the contenders' faces blossoms so much more in High Definition, and a DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack means you will never be reaching for the subtitles button even when words are whispered or intoned closer to incoherence than one might normally want due to emotional pressure. Highly recommended.
Frost/Nixon is an exciting and enthralling reconstruction of the famous interviews between Nixon and David Frost in 1977, how they were independently financed and set up by Frost and his associates in the face of hostility and indifference by all the main US televison channels to their eternal regret as the interviews gripped the nation and made millions of dollars in sales.
Michael Sheen is great as Frost but he is excelled by a superb Frank Langella as Nixon who gets the better of Frost in the earlier interviews by dodging many issues and diverts Frost from getting answers to important questions about Watergate but who is finally pinned down by Frost in the last interview about Watergate and is forced to admit his mistakes and that he had committed acts against the American people and he said he deeply regretted what he had done but to his dying day Nixon refused to admit that this constituted a crime.
It's 1977, and Nixon has been out of the public eye since his resignation in 1974. A young TV presenter, David Frost, in need of a hit to bolster his career, puts everything he has into a series of 4 interviews with Nixon. The result - well, far be it from me to spoil the ending, just in case you don't know - but even if you do, just like the director's previous outings it ends up being surprisingly watchable and even tense. Howard succeeds by making this less about the details of Nixon or Watergate, and instead focuses on Frost. What made him tick, and how did he turn things around against the odds. That, and the fascinating idea of the interview as a duel between the two men. That mixture is then admirably steered to success by two terrific performances from the leads... If you are familiar with Frost, when you first see Sheen as Frost your jaw will drop, but beyond the astonishing mimicry, Sheen gets under the skin of the character Frost is portrayed as.. ambitious, performer, party animal, but underneath the surface, a latent ability to grab on like a terrier and not let go. For Frank Langella's part, he certainly captures the haunted frustration and loneliness, combined with fierce intellect, of Nixon. The main two are ably supported by a terrific supporting cast - Kevin Bacon, Toby Jones, Oliver Platt and Sam Rockwell all have moments to shine, though the token female role played by Rebecca Hall seems redundant in the context of the movie.
Whether this is really how it went down has been much discussed, the phone call that is key to the events in the movie, never happened in reality we are told. But these tweaks from history notwithstanding, this is great drama, presented with Howard's trademark slick efficiency. There may be no guns, no car chases and a lot of talking - but it's no less a thriller for all that. What's more, the bluray has excerpts of the original interviews, which make fascinating viewing, particularly in the side by side mode with the movie.
But don't get fooled... just like 'The Queen' and 'The Deal', Morgan's other retellings of recent history, this is more fiction than fact, in which momentous events get reduced to a verbal sparring match between the old pro (Nixon, Her Majesty, Gordon Brown) and the challenging upstart (Blair, Frost - always played by Sheen), and we get a ringside seat. It's great fun, but it's not life as we know it.
If you're tempted to think that Nixon actually was as charming and cuddly as Frank Langella's portrayal, and Frost anything like Martin Sheen's inept and callow interviewer, then take a look at the all-too-brief slice of the original interviews which is included amongst the bonus features on the DVD. In these, Frost exudes oil and confidence, and Tricky Dicky is as shifty and slippery as ever, his eyes never holding the camera for long as he continually lies and evades, reinventing himself for posterity.
So, sit back and enjoy the entertainment, but remember to take with a large pinch of salt.
Meanwhile, Frank Langella (Nixon) embodies the slimy, calculating, shrewd Nixon. Although, when finally pressed by Frost for an apology to the American people, we see for the first time a pathethic shell of a once, almost great President.
A drama of the man vs. man variety. Excellent acting by all actors involved. Plus, director Ron Howard proves to us once again that he can take on any genre of movie and make it his own.
(On the technical side, the fact that this movie is Blu-Ray all regions is definitely a plus. Why aren't more BDs made this way?)
Since this webshop still doesn't provide accurate language details, i confirm the language setup.
All Audio tracks: DTS HD 5.1 English / DTS 5.1 Spanish, German
All subtitles : English for the hearing impaired, Spanish, German
Duration: Approx. 122