To my mind, this movie is about Frank Langella’s total embodiment of Richard Millhouse Nixon. Langella honed this roll with Sheen during a two year stint on Broadway – and it shows. Within seconds, I had an uncanny feeling that I was watching Nixon himself. Langella didn’t put on excessive amounts of makup to try and look like Nixon, rather he studied the man and captured his essence, his mannerisms, his speech patterns, the way he carries himself – to a tee. Very impressive!
Kevin Bacon aptly plays a loyal aide to Nixon. After his years on West Wing, always enjoyable Oliver Platt seemed an apt choice for his role. I wasn’t impressed with Sam Rockwell as James Reston (the researcher). Anyone could have played that role.
The first half of the movie dragged a bit and seemed overly long. As the movie made its way to the fourth day of the interview, when the topic of Watergate was on the table, I sat transfixed in a way I don’t recall ever experiencing before. I’m a political junkie. That scene had me gripped by the scruff of my neck and didn’t let go for about 15 minutes.
But for that scene and the second half of the movie generally, I probably would have rated the movie a 3 out of 5.
This will be an ‘OK’ movie for the average cinema-goer/DVD renter. But it’s a must see for political junkies and American history buffs.