FrostNixon, the Movie

Frost/Nixon – I think it is one of the most overlooked Oscar-nominated movies in 2008. It is thrilling, powerful and dramatic. The plot is simple (well, after all, it is based on something that actually happened, how creative could it be?); however, it is still full of suspense, surprises and twists.

Frank transformed himself into Nixon although he does not look like Nixon at all. He used his voice, facial expressions, body language, and eyes to transform himself into a historical figure. I know he is not Nixon but as I was watching the movie, to me, he was Nixon.

Frank's version of Nixon appeared to be arrogant, confident, nonchalant, and had a sense of superiority in the beginning. In fact, he was going to use the interview with Frost as an opportunity to redeem himself, to remind the public of his past achievements as a politician, to help erase his poor image because of the Watergate scandal, to safeguard his formidable status as a former president of the US. However, we all know what happened in the end. But it is interesting to see Nixon's mental transformation throughout the tapings. In the beginning, you can tell that he thought Frost was not his match and that Frost was nobody, and the tone he used when he talked to Frost was somewhat degrading. Nixon had the upper hand in the early tapings; nevertheless, something changed towards the end. Frost managed to ask the golden question and got the answer he was hoping for. Then, we saw Nixon's strong facade started to crumple, his loneliness, fear, insecurity, uncertainty, and weakness all started to reveal. It was at that moment that Frost began to feel sorry for Nixon. Frost decided not to push for more. Indeed, he regretted that he pushed for too much as he began to see another side of Nixon…As everyone around Frost was celebrating, Frost was looking at Nixon as he left the house. Maybe Frost was wondering, "Did I do the right thing?" at that time.

What I've described above is based on what I saw in the movie (now I am actually interested in reading the original book written by David Frost, and I would like to see the original play as well). Frank's performance is just so powerful. How did he manage to do it? I also admire the director's ability to turn a rather boring topic (history and debate?) into as thrilling as it is.

Too bad the movie did not get as much spotlight as some other movies in the past few months! However, I am sure this movie will stand. Maybe 10 years down the road, people will actually realize what they have missed out by not seeing this movie.

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