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Kristin Scott Thomas,
Fact-based story about a disturbed office furniture salesman who in 1972 concocted a plot to kill then-President Nixon by hi-jacking a plane to fly over the White House to drop a gas bomb. At the start of the movie, the man is separated from his wife and stressed in his job where he is made the butt of jokes and is an under-performer. Attempts to get his brother's old tire business resurrected with a black partner is rejected by the banks. When he is officially served with divorce papers, everything comes apart and Richard Nixon's broken promises comes to represent all the evils that have come down on him. A news story about a pilot that landed a helicopter on the White House lawn gives him the idea for his attack. Bolting onto a Baltimore plane, he attempts the hi-jacking. Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
I was lucky enough to see this film at the AFI Fest screening in Los Angeles this week. They say it will be released at the end of the year, which is not soon enough as far as I'm concerned.
Others here have commented on the brilliant performances of the stellar cast, and I must concur. There isn't a weak link in the group. Particular standouts are Jack Thompson and Michael Wincott. These two actors play character Sam Byck's (Sean Penn) boss and brother, respectively, and they are the authority figures in Sam's life whose influences are palpable in the film even when they are not on-screen. Naomi Watts and Don Cheadle provide superlative performances that we have begun to expect from them as our due. Certainly one could say the same about Sean Penn. He is probably one of the highest praised and consistently well-reviewed actors of his generation, and his performance in this film illustrates why. Penn's elegiac performance is delicately nuanced and precisely wrought. For me, this is unarguably his finest performance to date. I hope that Academy voters won't hold it against him that he won last year because if ever a performance deserves an Oscar, this is it!
Director/Co-writer Niels Mueller has crafted a stunning work that is clearly heart-felt. This is a beautifully rendered character study. The level of achievement in directing, writing, cinematography, and editing are beyond impressive. Although this film was inspired by true events that occurred three decades ago (and the director and the production design team have captured the feel and look perfectly), the film is timeless in the themes that it explores. Considering the fact that this film was conceived and written at least five years ago (according to the director during the AFI Q&A)-before 9/11, before the Clinton Impeachment, before Bush's election and re-election, before the Iraq war-it is uncanny how relevant and topical the themes are.
If you are someone who likes inspired, thought-provoking films that are well-written, beautifully acted and masterfully directed, then I advise you to run, don't walk, to see NIXON when it comes out.
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