Director: Ron Howard

Cast: Michael Sheen, Frank Langella, Rebecca  Hall, Kevin Bacon

The Buzz: Nominated in Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor,  Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing categories

The Run: Won the Satellite Award for Best Adapted Screenplay


Not Exactly A K.O.

Ron Howard returns after his much trashed film The Da Vinci Code (2006) and he returns quite well. He takes up the iconic face-off between David Frost and Richard Nixon following the latter’s impeachment and churns out something that could have been only possible in Hollywood. Seen Rocky? Seen Mudhalvan (Nayak)? Now cross them and voila!

Riding on two striking performances (well, Sheen’s is easily questionable), Frost Nixon is yet another underdog story from the industry that is surprisingly riveting until the third act. There is a sense of balance among the characters. The interview is the last chance for both of them to redeem their lost pride. A lot is at stake for both of them. All this is quite subtly done. Oh yes, please add a clause “till the phone call” to all the statements above. And after this notorious phone call comes the fear of all ordinary directors of Hollywood. The fear that their effort may go unnoticed by the audience. Ron Howard is no exception here and verbalizes and over-determines whatever he wants to say in the final act as if pointing out to the audience his directorial skills. It’s downhill all the way from this point. The showdown is so dumb to the point that it contradicts the point of the whole film so far. And Sheen’s cool attitude sums up to nothing at all. How I wish the film was handled by some veteran. 

But a few points do stand out in the film including Langella’s confident performance of the American president. Frost/Nixon does not pretend to delve into the truth or offer a fair trial to Nixon. It assumes that Nixon is guilty and concentrates on his conviction alone. And I feel that this is a good move. But best movie of the year? Come on, this must be the joke of the year!