Frost, Nixon and Ron Howard
Saw this Oscar contender last night, and apart from a fine performance from Langella as a disgraced president (though not necessarily a ringer for Nixon), Frost/Nixon is a serious disappointment. It’s a Ron Howard of a rewrite, all build-up to the all important climax (aided by a fabricated phone call that turns the tables in the clunkiest of manners), where, you know, good triumphs evil and lo! Frost gleans the all important admission of wrongdoing from a former president and the Day. Is. Saved. Phew, didn’t see that one coming. Which shouldn’t matter in a pic like this where you already know the outcome, except it’s played to us in such a way that we’re apparently supposed to be on the edges of our seats. The thing is, the premise of this film is a fascinating one, and interview technique is something in which I have a particular professional interest, yet Frost/Nixon simplifies even that, all encased in a clumsy faux-documentary style that adds nothing but confusion to the whole endeavour. And yes, you get the sense of the humanity of a man who has been historically demonised (though whether you even agree with that notion is a whole nother story), and some interesting glimpses of how the whole process comes together, but it’s not enough to carry what seems at times a facile version of events. As a film about a historical, political figure, Milk far outranks Frost/Nixon. As for Rebecca Hall’s Caroline Cushing – hard to say why she was written in at all, other than as blatant eye candy. Shudder. Skip it, go see Milk instead. (Speaking of which, check out this bizarre, oddly focussed review by Philip French and let’s see if you see what I see). For a very different take on Frost/Nixon, by the way, by our own film critic Michael Dwyer, click here.