Frost/Nixon finally started showing in San Francisco today. One theater only. Worried it would be a sold-out show, we had an early dinner and rushed downtown an hour before the show. Turned out San Franciscan’s enthusiasm in politics has more similarity with teenager’s taste in fashion than anything else. It is probably all about what’s trendy at the moment. Watergate is old news. The theater was half empty when we showed up 10 minutes before showtime.
I’m not complaining. Nothing better than enjoying such a great movie in a spacious and mostly quiet theater. People who did come really loved it.
It reminded me of the documentary “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara,” because both are centered around a controversial powerful figure, and both managed to portrait that man in satisfactory complexity. Both movies made me see these men in sympathetic light because in them we recognize ourselves. However unforgiven their mistakes might have been, seeing them in their moment of weakness help us understand that they are human afterall, not monsters.
What’s more, they are both highly intelligent.
Even though in real life I have been shown multiple times how overrated intelligence really is (without kindness, personality, and basic decency). I still couldn’t help but be drawn to people who are blessed with such treat. And i tend to forgive mistakes by thoughtful people than by idiots, which seems illogical because idiots are helpless while thoughtful people should’ve known better. hmmm…
But Frost/Nixon is better than The Fog of War because it is a drama about a documentary rather than a documentary. It is entertaining. The story is well told. Characters are three dimensional and interesting. Actors are superb at their craft. The drama mesmerizes. The production is flawless executed. Last but not least, it has a sense of humor.
Things that stood up for me as we were coming home from the theater:
– Power is addictive
– Humanity is more powerful than Power. At the end, the interview of Frost/Nixon turned into a therapy session, and Nixon willingly lost the “war” to gain some absolution.
– Whenever the movie mentioned the phrase “The American People”, i couldn’t help but thinking, “you mean the same people who think Obama is an elitist and elected GWB twice?!”
Highly recommended, I think Frost/Nixon and Slumdog Millionaire are the two best films of 2008, so far.