The thing about a film like "The Final Days" is that how much you enjoy the experience depends directly on your general interest in the subject matter. Myself, I'm not terribly interested in the character of Richard Nixon. This is one of several portrayals I've seen of the man, all of which I watched for alternate reasons (either the director, actors, or the general accolades directed toward it). I watched this film because I'm a fan of director Richard Pearce (Threshold, Country, The Long Walk Home, A Family Thing). Fred Murphy's cinematography is also very nice, though you'd hardly know it from some of the terrible VHS copies available.
There are certainly some great performances here. Lane Smith is totally believable as Nixon - a person who's honestly more of a caricature than anything else. David Ogden Stiers plays his role with a much stronger confidence than usual. The periodical approach of having a short paragraph of narration by various characters is engaging, giving you valuable insight. Eventually, the story begins to feel crushed under its own weight. At well over two hours, it demands a seriously engaged interest on the part of the viewer. Still, there are extremely powerful passages that keep it all together. Don't let the fact that this was produced for television fool you - Pearce creates a higher feeling that would be expected from such. If you're interested in the story of Nixon and Watergate, this is undoubtedly the film to see. All others pale in comparison.
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