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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 find myself at a small screening of this picture and having no expectations, was blown away by what I saw. I felt a knot growing in my chest with every passing minute and it didn't let go until the credits rolled, when I had to take a couple deep breaths and heard the girl next to me doing the same.
What first struck me was the fragility Penn brings to his character. He's a man I'm used to seeing as well, a man's man, and to see him timid and frustrated, swallowing so much emotion in ever bigger chunks...it was remarkable to watch, his performance a credit to director Niels Mueller as well. Penn deserves another award, Noami Watts and Don Cheadle are also excellent, and Michael Wincott, as Penn's brother, makes his one scene memorable.
Niels and Kevin Kennedy have done a truly masterful job with the script, bringing unique voices and characters to life such as I rarely see on screen. Neils certainly doesn't look like a first timer behind the camera. Much of his framing feels emotionally
claustrophobic, while a few hand-held sequences made me think I was an unwilling, unwitting voyeur.
All in all this is a delicately crafted yet weighty and powerful film. I believe it gets released soon in New York and LA, but as Penn's Sam Bicke character might say "The system is unfair and everyone has a right to see this movie" so email ThinkFilm and tell them you want it in your city, too. Kudos to ThinkFIlm for getting behind this movie, they have another festival favorite of mine, "Kontroll" coming out in the spring.
I take my hat off to these filmmakers for their outstanding work.
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