1995, Movie, R, 190 mins


A lurching, addlebrained biopic that lacks even the crackpot energy of JFK, Oliver Stone's NIXON struggles to invest its nakedly venal subject with tragic dignity. Even more than NATURAL BORN KILLERS, it's offered as a Big Statement: We're meant to see Nixon as a flawed but quintessentially American figure, to understand (and rationalize) his criminal foibles as a disturbing reflection of our own dark side. What's really disturbing -- if not precisely surprising -- is how closely Stone identifies with his brooding, paranoid antihero. Anthony Hopkins, miscast in the title role, gives the kind of self-consciously hammy performance that's virtually certain to pick up an Oscar nomination; Joan Allen is a one-dimensional Pat. The supporting cast, however, is uniformly terrific -- Ed Harris was born to play spooky Howard Hunt and James Woods is letter-perfect as Bob Haldeman. leave a comment

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