Wednesday, January 28, 2009

frost/nixon

As promised, I reward myself for my hard work yesterday by going to see "Frost/Nixon" at the Triangle Square theater last night. It was amazing; absolutely one of the best films I've seen all year (possibly the best, if I allow for a tie with "Wall-E"). The trailer doesn't do it justice at all. In the trailer, Frank Langella's Nixon seems overbearing and forced, more of a tired caricature than an impression. And I'll partially agree: at the film's beginning Langella's portrayal was a little distracting. But that's part of the point, I think: Frank Langella wasn't trying to imitate Richard Nixon, he was was trying to convey his essence. To do that, he had to break the audience's expectation for how Richard Nixon should seem onscreen. Once he did that, he was, I thought, incredibly convincing*. I quote Roger Ebert:

"Frank Langella and Michael Sheen do not attempt to mimic their characters, but to embody them. There's the usual settling-in period, common to all biopics about people we're familiar with, when we're comparing the real to the performance. Then that fades out and we become absorbed in the drama."

Go see it. 


*Disclaimer: Bear in mind, of course, that I was born twelve years after the Watergate scandal broke, so my ability to judge the accuracy of Langella's impression may be somewhat hampered. However, my ability to judge a good performance is not, and this was a very good performance, with an even better one by Michael Sheen. 

1 comment:

Ross said...

I think I will go see it. And I'll make a much better judge of Langella's Nixon impression since I was born only ten years after the Watergate scandal.