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'The Assassination of Richard Nixon' DVD Review *** 070705
The work = ***
Take 'The Assassination of Richard Nixon' for example. Penn gives a wonderful performance that makes the film watchable and allows me to give it a marginal recommendation. To be fair 'The Assassination of Richard Nixon' is not a badly made film, it is just not a particularly enjoyable one. It is solidly directed and well acted but the movie is so slow that it can be hard to watch. Sometimes when the subject of a film is depressing or sad, I can still enjoy a film for say, the dialogue. 'The Grey Zone' is a thoroughly sad film and it too has great performances. It also has crackling dialogue and a dramatic arch about redemption that make it engaging despite being about such a depressing subjec.
Here in this film I followed Penn as Sam Bicke. Bicke is a divorced salesman with one friend and a lot of problems. The trouble is, most of his problems are on the inside and no one else seems to be able to see them. He reminded me a bit of Travis Bickle from Martin Scorsese’s 'Taxi Driver'. Like Bickle he seems to be a man that is slowly boiling.
Bicke wants to get back together with his wife and be a part of a happy family with her and the kids. His wife Marie (Naomi Watts) clearly does care for him but is no longer interested in pursuing their relationship. What ever happened between them happened and was serious enough to cause them to separate. She wants the best for him but has moved on and is seeing someone else. Bicke lacks social skills and often says the wrong thing and either confuses or downright insults the person he is talking to. It is not clear how he ended up with Marie in the first place but Watts and Penn are so convincing in their portrayals that just looking at them made me realize any relationship between the two would have failed.
DVD = ***
All Together = ***
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