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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Joan Allen
Powers Boothe
Ed Harris.
Directors
Oliver Stone.
Screenwriters
Stephen J Rivele
Olive Stone
Christopher Wilkinson.
Running Time
192 minutes

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Nixon
Biopic of the shamed American president.


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Plot
Biographical story of former U.S. president Richard Milhouse Nixon, from his days as a young boy to his eventual presidency which ended in shame.


Review
Reviled, despised and shunned by the public and media alike, a misunderstood genius who struggled to fulfil personal dreams against the odds, a man who always saw the bigger picture and struggled against the might of the system . . . You’ve got to feel for Oliver Stone. He makes the most penetrating, unyielding studio films around, and everybody gets up on their high horse and shouts about historical veracity, botty crunching running times and interminably complex plotting.
Yes, Nixon is way too long. Yes, it assumes too much knowledge of the most controversial term of office in America’s presidential history. Perhaps it massages known facts into a more colourful order. But it is also a tour de force of mighty acting that skilfully entwines intrigue and tension into a swirling world of political scheming, paranoia and self-destruction, and paints a moving picture of a man undone by self-loathing and misguided idealism. Nixon plays out like a Shakespearean tragedy — Macbeth as performed by the White House administration of the early 70s.
With Stone’s arsenal of camera trickery at work, the film commences with Watergate — although it never really explains what the crucial scandal was all about — the linchpin for the abridged bio of Richard Nixon (Hopkins) complete with Freudian childhood trauma, mucho conspiracy (spot Larry Hagman’s Texan oilman out for JFK assassination), superlative talkfests in the Oval office and the eventual fall from grace as Watergate bursts forth. There is so much meat here sometimes it is hard to swallow.
Hopkins is simply magnificent, recognisably Nixonian but not a bald-faced imitation, tapping the psychological torment of the man (Nixon, Stone demands, was not a monster, just a flawed human) and visibly similar without an ounce of prosthetic. Then there’s Joan Allen’s poignant Pat Nixon, and an array of those actors who always deliver: Harris, Woods, J.T. Walsh, Powers Boothe and Mary Steenburgen.
Oliver Stone makes movies like hammer blows to the head, that leave you physically drained but totally nourished. Weighty? Nixon has its own gravitational pull.


Verdict
Long but consistently engaging biopic.


Reviewed by Ian Nathan

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Nixon
Empire Star Rating

RE: Good but too long

Love this movie. Actually prefer it to JFK. Need to watch the Blu Ray of this. The Extended version. ... More

Posted by UTB at 12:59, 29 February 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Good but too long

Sort of a spiritual follow up to JFK but without the exciting conspiracy stuff. Hopkins gives a stellar performance and drives the whole film, but its soooooooooo bloody long I nearly drifted off a few times. Could do with being a good hour shorter and a bit more explanation on Watergate. b] ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Spaldron at 02:29, 29 February 2012 | Report This Post


Watched it for the first time today: Oliver Stone`s 3,5 hour epic on the biggest scandal ever in American politics: Watergate. Stone expects his audience to have a certain knowledge of what happened and that you know post-war American history. In the beginning it`s told briefly, the rest of the film is told by flashbacks and flashforwards. This way we get to see what made Richard Nixon into the person he became through his strict religious upbringing, his early political carreer and how he... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 21:33, 01 February 2009 | Report This Post


Brilliant cast and director and totally kicked jfk in the arse ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by 03wills at 21:51, 03 May 2007 | Report This Post


Great cast, but way too long and no where as near as good as JFK. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Naweed_1 at 14:29, 12 March 2006 | Report This Post


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