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Frost/Nixon January 19, 2009

Posted by doubledown in Reviews.

Note: I’m quickly learning just how difficult it is to mainly a blog solely on the topic of writing (especially since so much of the process of writing is, let’s face it, esoteric). That in mind, I’m expanding the scope of the blog ever so slightly to include other things like reviews of movies, etc. Consider it an experiment…

And now on to…

Frost/Nixon is Ron Howard’s best film to date (at least of the ones I’ve seen — I admit to taking a pass on stuff like The Da Vinci Code and The Missing). Howard is certainly competent, but his movies generally don’t fire me with passion at all. I admire his willingness to move from genre to genre, but in that process, I believe that he’s failed to develop a distinctive voice. Frost/Nixon took a step or toward making me believe that Howard could transcend simple by-the-numbers film-making. A lot of what makes the movie successful boils down to the excellent writing by Peter Morgan and the terrific lead performances by Frank Langella and Michael Sheen, but there’s definitely some craft on display in the directing as well. The camera work is good, and the pacing is almost thriller-like; there’s a tension that bleeds through the whole piece that keeps you engaged and wondering what’s going to happen next. For the first time since maybe Splash or Apollo 13, Ron Howard had me well and truly “on the hook”.

Also, one can’t help but draw parallels between this bad president of old and a bad president of more recent vintage. That gives the film a certain timeliness that contributes to its success.



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