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 caught this film at AFI primarily due to my interest in Sean Penn and indeed his performance is spectacular. But Mr. Penn's performance alone is not what makes this a truly great film. The intelligent writing, well-timed and rich score, and supportive performances by Naomi Watts, Jack Thompson and Don Cheadle blend perfectly in this marvelously crafted feature transporting the viewer into the lives and era of the exquisitely human characters who are so elegantly portrayed. Sean Penn's performance leans heavily on the clever and complex writing which offers him the opportunity to display an impressive range of pathos. The writers have managed to depict the very human and sympathetic side of a character that would typically be cast as the villain. I think this is a hugely important film for that reason and on many other levels as well. The writers are able to very subtly include sociopolitical commentary without being "in your face" or at all judgmental as the political arena is viewed through the lead character's eyes yet not really distorted due to the inclusion of archival footage. The unexpected doses of humor matched perfectly with the poignancy of the lead character's plight. This film is so moving, scenes and dialogue echo in the corners of the mind for days after the first viewing. I'll definitely be seeing Assassination again.
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