Last night I went to see Frost v Nixon with mini me Shane Greer. Those of you who are long time readers of this blog will know that I have a certain fascination with Richard Nixon. I've read every book he has written (and he was a fantastic writer) and also visited to Nixon Library in Yorba Linda in California. While recognising his deep flaws, he was, in many ways, a brilliant politician, tactician and intellect. Those who write him off as a crook and just concentrate on Watergate are missing out on learning more about a President who in many ways was a conservative radical.
Having not seen the play, I entered the cinema with severe doubts as to how the director could generate the momentum for a movie about an interview to get through two hours. I need not have worried. The impossible was achieved. You could watch the film as a Nixon aficionado and not feel patronised, yet if the only thing that you knew about Nixon was that he resigned over Watergate, it wouldn't go above your head. It's a political movie without politics.
The drama of the film revolves around the jousting between the two main protagonists. If I were David Frost, I'm not sure I'd be too happy about how Michael Sheen portrayed me. In fact, I'd say it was Frost who seemed to have just as many character flaws as Nixon.
Indeed, I thought Frank Langella's performance as Nixon was actually quite sympathetic to Nixon and helped us understand his motivations and idiosyncrasies. I had expected the film to portray Nixon as a monster, but it was not like that at all.
Langella certainly deserves an Oscar nomination for his performance. He commanded the screen beautifully and although he didn't try to impersonate Richard Nixon, he managed to convince the audience almost from the first sentence that he was, actually, Nixon reincarnated.
I cannot believe that a single reader of this blog would not enjoy Frost v Nixon. Go and see it!