Director Oliver Stone's exploration of former president Richard Nixon's strict Quaker upbringing, his nascent political strivings in law school, and his strangely self-effacing courtship of his wife, Pat. The contradictions in his character are revealed early, in the vicious campaign against Helen Gahagan Douglas and the oddly masochistic Checkers speech. His defeat at the hands of the hated and envied John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election, followed by the loss of the 1962 California gubernatorial race, seem to signal the end of his career. Yet, although wholly lacking in charisma, Nixon remains a brilliant political operator, seizing the opportunity provided by the backlash against the antiwar movement to take the presidency in 1968. It is only when safely in office, running far ahead in the polls for the 1972 presidential election, that his growing paranoia comes to full flower, triggering the Watergate scandal.Written by
The reunion between Nixon and Hoover is situated at Santa Anita Racetrack. In fact, as Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar" rightly spots (though some goofs of its own), J. Edgar Hoover used to go to Del Mar Turf Club, a few miles from Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, where he made a medical checkup every year. See more »
Written by Franz Schubert
From Schubert's "Symphony No. 2 in B Flat Major, D 125"
Performed by Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest (as Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra)
Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Conductor
Courtesy of Teldec Classics International GmbH
by arrangement with Warner Special Products See more »
I will start by saying I am an Oliver Stone fan. For some particular reason though I did not expect to like this movie but obviously I did. He actually unexpectedly gave a very fair depiction of Nixon. Nixon really transformed before my eyes in here. That was really something special to see.
The acting was quite good. Anthony Hopkins though totally uplifted this movie. I could imagine many people saying his performance was over-the-top or a bit too surreal at times. Yet that is what really made his performance so amazing. The way he was able to transform the many crazy and totally off the wall aspects of Nixon and make them into a reality. To me as the movie went on I felt I was in some way able to see his paranoia, anxiety, thirst for power and just the simple fact of wanting to be liked. I could see he was more of a troubled and vulnerable man than a monster. He never quite connected with anybody which made him bitter and fueled his paranoia and greed even more. To me Hopkins portrayed this all perfectly, all the complexities and inner feelings of Nixon. Hopkins slipped into this role in way that you rarely see. He became Nixon, and at times I was speechless or should I say thoughtless watching him portray such an important figure in such a way. More and more I felt sorry for Nixon, as he looked more and more like a schizophrenic. To me this role was more psychologically bone-chilling than his role as Hannibal Lechter in Silence of the Lambs and I have no problem debating that.
The rest of the cast was quite good as well. Joan Allen was very good in showing the complex relationship/marriage she had with Richard Nixon. James Woods freaked me out at times displaying that pure evil and hatred at times that Hopkins showed as Nixon. Paul Sorvino was very good as Henry Kissinger. Mary Steenburgen was interesting to watch in the very limited time she played in here. The two actors though other than Hopkins though that really stood out to me were Bob Hoskins and Sam Waterston. Despite Hoskins not giving an amazing performance and having very limited time he gave me chills just seeing J. Edgar Hoover being portrayed in some sort of way. Sam Waterston despite being limited to really just one scene was even more chilling than the rest of the cast(excluding Hopkins) combined in that one moment. That moment was one of the most intense face to face scenes that I have ever seen. It was so memorable.
The directing was very good. It was not the best I have seen from Oliver Stone but it was up there. For the first 45 minutes or so I was a bit confused about what was happening and the flow of the movie but I got used to it. The first portion of the movie did feel unbalanced at times but the feel of the movie got better as it wore on. Going back to that one scene between Sam Waterston and Anthony Hopkins, I felt this scene was one of the best directed and written scenes I have seen from Oliver Stone or anyone ever. That scene was a microcosm of the movie. The motion-sickness, mind scrambling, paranoid feeling of that scene captured the entire movie. The feeling of even seeing the president himself being treated like a puppet, despite not that shocking, was mind numbing to watch. That scene was true testament to the writing and directing abilities of Oliver Stone.
The writing was also very good throughout. It seemed as if everything Stone wanted to get across got across. The writing was not amazing but it certainly served it duty. The cinematography was great though. Stone always knows how to get his point across in the way he photographs a movie even if all of other aspects of the movie fail. That dark Oliver Stonish feeling kept on creeping in on every scene, but also that dark psychological feeling that he had put in Born On the Fourth of July and Platoon also was felt through the cinematography. The music by John Williams, who always knows how to capture a moment musically, was simply perfect in here again.
I can understand this movie being boring to a lot of people or it being considered propaganda. Yet I think this movie is an overlooked masterpiece. Just seeing Anthony Hopkins perform as Nixon is a good enough reason to see this movie. He took control of this movie by force and took it to another level. Despite this being an Oliver Stone movie it is more fair than you would think. Of course this movie may have a few conspiracy theories included in it but Oliver Stone never forces his theories on people. There is a reason why at the beginning at every movie he puts a disclaimer saying that not everything in his movies are facts. Despite it being great I don't know if this is a movie for everyone. This movie seems to be crazy and surreal but isn't that how life seems to be at times as well?
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