Year: 2008 | Starring: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen | Directed By: Ron Howard | Length: 122 min.
I should preface this by saying I’ve never been a huge Ron Howard fan. I find his films entertaining, but I’ve never really been blown away by any of his movies (except maybe A Beautiful Mind) and I find his films sometimes get lost in a larger-than-life cliché’ ridden world. His previous directing project, The Da Vinci Code, completely under whelmed me. With all that being said, I’d say Howard redeemed himself with Frost/Nixon.
This is a movie with two faces. I’ll talk about the less-appealing face first; these are the parts of the film where we’re following David Frost (Michael Sheen) around the world and getting to know him better. Sheen does a bit of an Austin Powers impression as he woes a woman, wears fancy suits and takes first-class flights. This was clearly Howard’s attempts to hold the audiences hands in defining who Frost was, I found it unnecessary and a little boring.
The more appealing part of the film, the actual interviews between Frost and Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) were amazing. Technically, they were incredibly well shot, with heavy use of shadows. Acting wise, Langella and Sheen shine and tell their own story. I would have been happier with a slightly shorter film, with more emphasis on the interviews themselves.
The film had a semi-pseudo documentary element to it. Parts of the film are interrupted by documentary style interviews, which actually worked really well. My only gripe was Kevin Bacon (who I usually love) seemed a bit detached in the interviews. He was over-acting, when the other actors seemed more real. Bacon’s performance was a minor gripe though, as the documentary style definitely worked for me.
Overall, this was a good movie. I enjoyed it and I think Langella will definitely deserved his Oscar nomination. He wasn’t just doing a Nixon impersonation; he has some fiercely acted scenes in the film.