I have to admit that the nominee for Best Picture this year I was least excited about seeing was Frost/Nixon. I mean, it’s about NIXON, for pity’s sake. How can it be interesting?
The kicker is – it is in fact quite interesting. The plot chugs along at a fast clip, delivering the story of how an entertainment talk show host from Britain – David Frost – managed to land the interview of a lifetime with the disgraced former President.
The reason the movie works well comes down to superb acting by Michael Sheen (as Frost) and Frank Langella (as Nixon). Sheen is like a 1970’s era Austin Powers, pouncing around as a sexy beast with a furry chest, charming every woman in his wake. Meanwhile Langella does what I thought impossible – he made Nixon not only human, but…LIKEABLE. It’s bizarre, but true.
Also I’ll give a shout-out to Oliver Platt who manages to get some hilarious lines off and gives a truly funny Nixon impression himself.
The film is also pleasing because all aspects of the mid-70’s are portrayed well. Remember lounge bars on airplanes? Or for that matter, Eastern Airlines? How about men with lambchops? It’s all there and it’s like a kitsch fiesta.
Overall the movie was far better than I expected, so good that I wouldn’t mind seeing it again. I give it a solid B+ (just taking off a few points for brief parts of the film that dragged, and the anemic performance of Kevin Bacon).