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Ron Howard's take on the stage play resists a predictable smear job.

The personality chasm between Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) and David Frost (Michael Sheen) is what tries to ground Ron Howard's take of Peter Morgan's stage play. Recounting Frost's famous 1977 interview with the former US president, and its backstage struggle, Frost/Nixon boasts good performances and historical interest. But it misses out on the political tension the material deserves. Frost's interest in boosting ratings with the expensive interviews becomes a different matter for his cohorts, who pressure him to rake Nixon over the coals. Howard resists succumbing to a predictable smear job, but the clash of ideology should make incendiary cinema. Frost's transformation from phony British talk-show host to liberal crusader lacks gravity. What does is the two men's recognition of human difference. Nixon is the cold intellectual; a prisoner of his own behaviour. Frost lives for the party. Nixon's rumination on who he could have been is the movie's backbone, but it's too late in the game. Howard keeps things engaging without looking his material in the eye. More comfortable with a good movie than a great one, he plays safe.

Rated R (MPAA) · 122 min. · 2008
Official Site:
Director: Ron Howard
Writer: Peter Morgan
Producer: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner
Cast: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Kevin Bacon, Rebecca Hall, Toby Jones, Matthew Macfadyen, Oliver Platt and Sam Rockwell


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