March 20, 2009

Iron Eyes in Frost/Nixon

In Frost/Nixon, the PSA featuring Iron Eyes Cody as the crying Indian appears on a TV screen for a couple seconds. This gives me an excuse to say I just saw Frost/Nixon.

The movie did a fine job of making the preparations for a TV special into a real drama. It would've been better except for the over-the-top late-night call before the last interview. And for Nixon's sudden transformation from intellectual boxer into punch-drunk has-been.

Apparently the final confrontation was completely phony. In fact, many of the movie's key aspects were phony. I guess the only way they could make the story dramatic was to falsify it.

Nixon v Frost:  The true story of what really happened when a British journalist bullied a TV confession out of a disgraced ex-President

Frost/Nixon:  A Dishonorable Distortion of History

Film Review:  Frost/Nixon

Frost/Nixon’s Self-Congratulatory Revisionism

By now you should know my position on portraying history accurately. If you can't make a true story interesting without falsifying it, then don't. Make up a story instead.

Frost/Nixon would've worked just as well--maybe better--if it were about a fictional journalist interviewing a fictional president. The subject could've been the president's decision to invade a Middle East country based on trumped-up intelligence after a terrorist act it didn't commit. The goal could've been to get the president to admit he was wrong, the invasion wasn't justified, and he committed crimes in his zeal for vengeance.

Frost/Nixon does get a bonus point for using my hometown of Palos Verdes as a stand-in for San Clemente. Of course, it was totally obvious to anyone who's been to Palos Verdes or San Clemente.

Images:  Archival & CinematicOne of the expectations in a play-to-film transition is an opening up of the theatrical space to a more cinematic canvas. A scene during a lunch meeting with Nixon and his agent, Swifty Lazar, was such an opportunity. A home in Palos Verdes, standing in for La Casa Pacifica, offered a spectacular ocean view, and seemed a much more cinematic choice than the dining room that was scripted.Except for his crimes against the Constitution, Nixon wasn't a bad president. As I've noted before, he was a great president for Indians. For more on the subject, see "Dickie, Don't Forget the Indians," Why Nixon Did It, and Best President for Indians--Ever.

Rob's rating:  8.0 of 10. (The first 3/4 of the movie was more like an 8.5.)

1 comment:

Ananda girl said...

I was not a Nixon fan at the time when he was president. But in retrospect, I must say that he was an effective president and did many things for us that were positive and good. He was caught doing what politicians did at the time. He was no worse than any of the others but unfortunately was chosen by fate to start the movement of close watch we keep on politicians now.