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Frost/Nixon - Blu-ray DVD / drama DVD / adaptation DVD review
FROST/NIXON Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 1/2 stars
Featuring: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Sam Rockwell, Kevin Bacon, Matthew Macfadyen
Director: Ron Howard Studio: Universal
DVD release: 21 April 2009 Runtime: 122 min.
(1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p High Definition, Aspect ratio 2.35:1, Audio tracks (DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 Surround - English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - Spanish, French), Subtitles (English SDH, Spanish, French), Deleted Scenes, Discovering Secrets: The People and Places Behind the Story, The Making of Frost/Nixon, The Real Interview, The Nixon Library, Feature Commentary with Director Ron Howard, BD Live - Download Center, U Control - Picture-In-Picture, U Control - The Nixon Chronicles

On August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned from the office of the presidency amid scandal and allegations of wrongdoing. In 1977, television personality David Frost interviewed him. While it wasn't Nixon's only post-presidency interview, it was the most in-depth and important. Frost/Nixon is not a reenactment of the interviews but mostly a behind-the-scenes look at how the interviews came to be.

David Frost was a television personality whose US show had been cancelled and whose Australian show was on the skids. He was offering a hefty sum of money for an interview of the former president, and Nixon's handlers thought for sure it'd be a puff piece. Nixon saw easy money and perhaps a way to win his way back into public office. All he'd have to do is control the interview and not let it get away from him.

Frost started with a team of researchers who were looking to get some admission of guilt from Nixon, in particular James Reston, Jr. (Sam Rockwell). Reston came into it hoping to find a way to nail that bastard to the wall and make him pay for what he'd done. Frost, on the other hand, spent a considerable amount of time being a man about town and social butterfly. His researchers had little faith in him actually getting any thing good out of Nixon, even through several interview sessions. Frost just wasn't playing his A-game.

Frost/Nixon brilliantly brings us back to the late '70s, to the sights and sounds of the period, to the tension and anger in the air toward Nixon. Ron Howard's direction takes us into the private conversations of both camps to discover their motivations and discover how Frost got as much as he did out of Nixon in the Watergate sessions. Naturally the intensity of the conversations is amped up a bit for dramatic purposes but, as we see in the making-of featurettes, keeps pretty close in the words chosen.

Frank Langella is excellent as Richard Nixon, and Michael Sheen does a great job as David Frost. Neither of them looks quite like the person they play but capture their intense essences fully.

The Blu-ray edition, as with much of Universal's Blu content, comes with extra features that play along with the content in picture-in-picture form - cast and crew interviews and real-time information about the people and events involved with the story.

I remember in the early '70s when my parents would watch that short-lived Watergate show. I was always compelled to find something more interesting to do. It's the kind of thing that I'm sure I'd watch now, no doubt sending my own children away in disgust. My current understanding of the times is still not as full as I'd like it to be, but Frost/Nixon helps and it piques my curiosity for more info. The complete Frost/Nixon interviews are available on DVD now. That'd be a good place to start.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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