Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
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>
The news on TV first shows the speech of President Richard Nixon answering the House Judiciary Committee Subpoena for Additional Presidential Tape Recordings where he says "the boil must be pricked" from April 29, 1974. Later in the movie the news mentions Robert Preston landing a helicopter on the lawn at the White House the previous evening but that event occurred on February 17, 1974. See more »
Testing. Testing. Testing. One, two, three. Mr. Maestro, Leonard Bernstein, tape number one.
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Thanks to my keen eye, I (one of few, I believe) caught that free tickets to above movie were being given away, and would be followed by a Q & A with the director, producer (the guy behind Y Tu Mama Tambien) and Sean Penn, who is the lead of the movie, and takes a large majority of the screen time. The movie comes to select U.S. theaters on Dec. 29th, and the widens. I'll mention the questions later, but first the review.
A very good, yet flawed film. I use the term film not to be pretentious, but because it is primarily a film, not a movie in the blockbustery sense. It was produced independently, with the documenting the assassin, Sam Byck (Sean Penn.) It focuses on the year before he attempted (true story) to kill President Nixon in February, 1974 by flying a plane into the White House. However, the main thrust of the film was not politics, but character development.
Sean Penn is clearly one of the best actors today, very much in his prime. He once again proves it here. Byck is a man separated from his family, unsuccessful in his careers, and is marginalized from his life. We watch him obtain a sense of hopelessness, as he watches his dreams crumble away, as he blames the American system for his demise. Similar to Taxi Driver, in a lot of ways. Outstanding portrayal.
The only negative was the short span of the movie. It was 95 minutes, and left too little time for back story. There is not nearly enough exploration of how Byck got to the point where he could be pushed to kill. Another half hour of explaining his character would have made for a pantheon-level movie, instead of just a rather good one.
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