Benjamin Baxter

Posts Tagged ‘Frost/Nixon’

Frost/Nixon: I Let the American People Down …

In Reviews on January 16, 2009 at 1:42 am

The title of Frost/Nixon (2008) evokes red gloves and steroids, and the film aspires to present a titanic battle of wits. Notebooks, files and research staffs take their place; winner by befuddlement rather than knockout. Too bad that doesn’t quite come across.

It isn’t like time dulls the effectiveness of a film about the foremost American boogeyman. Though it’s been a generation-and-a-half since a British game show host took on the man with phelbitis-infused mouthguards to an anticlimactic end, and almost 15 years since former president Richard Milhous Nixon died, Nixon hasn’t eroded from infamy all that much. Never here, we imagine we told ourselves before he took office. Never again, we imagine we told ourselves after. The single most fascinating character of the American presidency is still its surest pariah.

Nixon is sort of a touchy subject.

British commentator David Frost knew it, and decided to take advantage. In 1977, he sat down for the first post-presidency interview with Nixon. It in many ways cemented Nixon’s image as a calculating, stonewalling dissembler just when he was angling for a comeback, and launched Frost into the realm of respectable television journalists.

British screenwriter and playwright Peter Morgan knew it, and decided to take advantage. In 2006, his play about the Frost/Nixon interviews premiered in London to critical acclaim.

Mayberry-runt-cum-Hollywood-director Ron Howard knows it, and so he decided to take to chances.  Read the rest of this entry »

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