Frank Langella’s performance is excellent and the whole cast is very good. Mention should be made of the always entertaining Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon revisits his character from Animal House with a pleasing sort of dignity.
Reading around the web I find some critics were grumpy with the film because they think that it lets Nixon off the hook, but it seems a bit unreasonable to expect Ron Howard and Peter Morgan to do more in this regard than the legal and political system of the United States of America. To expect that would be to fall into the same trap as one of the film’s characters does when he describes the interviews as “the trial Nixon never had.” One of the best things about the film is that it illustrates exactly what the difference is between a trial and a chat-show appearance. Criminals don’t get paid six-figures up front and a percentage of the profits for standing in the dock. And chat-shows always exonerate their guests by turning them into television magic.
Note that the film omits to mention that Nixon got points, when it really should have. The grumpy critics are right on that score.
It should also be noted that the process depicted in this movie – being slightly interrogated by a Man Without Qualities in a nice suit and then zoom-to-closeup *TRAGEDY* – is the very harshest punishment our society inflicts on serious criminals at its highest levels. So, Bush, Cheney, Greenspan: watch out. I think Andrew Denton should be trying to line up contracts.