Like most, I believe Frost/Nixon is one of the best movies of last year. It’s up for Academy Award for Best Picture and until recently seemed to be the frontrunner (recently passed by Slumdog Millionaire). This slow, methodical film is about the legendary interviews between David Frost, a British primetime host and recently acquitted President Richard Nixon. This was to be the first real interview with Nixon since his resignation after the Watergate incident, and instead of having it with a brutal American TV journalist, Nixon takes the opportunity to take the easy way out.
Frost is played by Michael Sheen, who also has another film in theaters right now, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, and trust me, he does much better in Frost/Nixon than that. These were the type of roles he is more fitted to play, charismatic British men who dress sharp. This would probably be why he also played Tony Blair two years ago in The Queen. Sheen his counterpart Frank Langella, who plays Nixon, both played their respective characters in the stage version of this movie, which would be one of the reasons each of them were cast. Langella’s performance is powerful and captivating as he completely embodies the voice, the look, and the mannerisms of President Richard Nixon; which explains why he is currently up for the Academy Award for Best Actor. The age in his face and grumbling voice mix with the hint of a restlessness and mischievous nature of a young boy made a character I hated but was enthralled to watch his every move.
That’s how the movie is, a discuss between two men on opposing forces trying to throw the other off-balance to gain the upper hand. This is a difficult feat to make visually interesting to the viewers, but is overcome with ease. I had little interest in it until the two of them were sitting down staring each other in the eyes. The beginning is how the entire event came about and that is not near as interesting as watching the mind games played with each other. It makes me wish I was old enough to have seen the actual interviews when they debuted on television. The seasoned veteran Nixon overplays Frost throughout much of the movie, which is what creates even better tension when Frost begins to fight back. The back and forth between Sheen and Langella is what makes the entire film. I am certain the stage production would be amazing to see, but I have to settle for the big screen which is perfectly fine with me. 4½ stars