The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004)
The true story of a man who, on February 22, 1974, was thwarted from an ambitious plan for political assassination provides the basis for this striking psychological drama. Sam Bicke (Sean Penn) is a salesman for an office-supply company whose life is slowly beginning to unravel. Bicke's job is going nowhere, his wife, Marie (Naomi Watts), has left him, and his boss (Jack Thompson) keeps pushing self-help books on him that make a mockery of his state of mind. One of Bicke's few friends is Bonny Simmons (Don Cheadle), an auto mechanic, and together they come up with an idea for a tire shop on wheels; while neither has the money to finance the project, Bicke has learned of a program for small-business loans instituted by President Richard Nixon, which he's certain will come through for him. But Bicke is denied his loan, which dovetails with his increasing suspicion of the president's Vietnam policies and a sudden interest in the "by any means necessary" political activism of the Black Panther Party. Desperate to seem important in some way, Bicke becomes increasingly obsessed with the duplicity of Richard Nixon, until he chooses to take it upon himself to stop the president once and for all. The Assassination of Richard Nixon was the first feature film from director Niels Mueller. … More
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Critic Reviews for The Assassination of Richard Nixon
Sean Penn brings this obscure failure back to life in a vivid portrayal of a madman in the making, a madman who had a date with a gun and history.
It's not just Nixon's shadow that hangs like a cloud over Assassination, it's the shadow of the bummerific era of American movies his regime spawned.
The idea that assassins are products of their times is intriguing, but The Assassination of Richard Nixon is betrayed by its ambitions and pretensions.
A well-made if relatively uninvolved character study with nothing noteworthy to say.
Features a bravura performance by Penn as a frustrated and deluded loser, but there isn't much else to recommend. The story is a one-note drag.
Assassination is an odd little movie. It's exceptionally well-done but doesn't attain the levels of meaning for which it seems to be striving.
Debut writer/director Neils Mueller (co-writer on "Tadpole") stitches together an ambiguous meditation on the pervasive affects of government corruption during the Nixon Administration that led a Baltimore man to attempt to kill the President by hijacking
The film manages something quite remarkable, both a compassion for Bicke's wounded sense of life's betrayals, and stark revulsion for the personal logic of his bloody remedy.
(...) Niels Mueller (...) conduce el relato con seguridad y tensión creciente hacia el inevitable estallido de violencia final.
There are good things about the movie, but it finally trips itself up on its two-fisted seriousness.
It's a small and quiet drama, but it's also one that sucks you in quite smoothly. Penn, as always, is fantastic.
This movie provides a lot of food for thought about true believers who don't mind killing people to achieve their goals.
By the close you're convinced that there should have been more to the film than what ended up onscreen.
An engaging, thought-provoking drama that is frequently unbearably moving thanks to career best work from Sean Penn.
A forgotten chapter of history that exposes truths about the American dream worth remembering.
One of the most successful attempts to tell the tale of an, ultimately, criminal person without ever forcing us to condone his crimes.
It makes for a grim time at the movies, but also a sobering one because it seeks truth, not sensationalism, in ugliness.
Even with three top-flight actors, The Assassination of Richard Nixon never becomes much more than a character study of a footnote in American history.
A case study devoid of empathy, it's Taxi Driver from Cybill Shepherd's point of view.
Penn delivers another of the incisive and riveting performances we've come to expect from one of our greatest actors.
Penn's challenge was to create a distinct character, especially with the shadow of Travis Bickle looming ... he largely succeeds, although he doesn't achieve De Niro's pathos.
Penn's agonized performance in this under-the-radar drama is better than his Oscar-winning work in Mystic River.
A starkly ambitious endeavor for such a fellow, and Mueller pulls it off well, if not perfectly.
Audience Reviews for The Assassination of Richard Nixon
The Assassination of Richard Nixon has everything you could hope for in a quality film. An engaging story full of interesting characters, great acting, score and all that jazz, a great piece of work. The film is set in the 1970s and revolves around it's central character, Sam Bick, a man who can't hold down a job, and has problems connecting with people socially. The film follows Sam on his unrelenting course of bad luck that will eventually prove to be too much for him to take. Compared by many to Taxi Driver, the film perhaps has more in common with Falling Down, Sam always complains about being held down by "the system" and how "the little man" is mistreated and such, the film does very well with this topic, leaving it open as to whether Sam is letting it get to him too much, or if he really is being mistreated, certainly different viewpoints and multiple viewings could generate many different views on the film. Sean Penn as usual is an acting tour de force, I've often criticised him privately for taking what I'd called "Gunning for Ocsars roles" a role that involves a mental breakdown or a disability or suchlike covered in a dramatic manner, that usually guarantees an Oscar nomination. An actor solely concerned with winning trophies, I do sometimes wish he'd take a few more risks rather than sticking to the "oscar" formula. He could be accused of that again here, but to be honest, whatever his intentions with making such a film, if he puts in a good performance there can be no complaints, and here he is exceptional, never going over the top, it's easily one of his best performances and certainly, the character of Sam Bicke is one that any actor would relish and provides good subject matter for a very good film. 4 Stars 9-29-13More
Not an "entertaining" film to watch here, but Sean Penn's performance as a soul drowning in an avalanche of setbacks is as definite as the sound of a gunshot ... and as clearly recognizable. The rest of the cast compliments the drowning absolutely with apt portrayals of "please God, don't let it be me". Difficult to watch, as I said. Very true.More
Sean Penn puts in one of his best performances to date in this highly underrated thriller based on true life events.More
"I am but a grain of sand. The meek shall not inherit the earth. The earth belongs to the bullies who do not care how they get to the top."A film inspired by a true story about the life of an ordinary man who plotted to kill Nixon.Another one of those sad stories of a person channeling his lifes frustration and dissillusionment from the government and the country he loves, to a specific individual.Sean Penns acting is always something to see, the script was moderately smart, but I guess this just isnt my cup of tea. It just felt flat out, dreary and dry. I was waiting for a the big breakthrough in the pacing of the film but no big drama ever came out of it, it never happened, and Im left hangging. I never even cried throughout the movie!Seriously not recommended.If you want to see Sean Penn in a tear jerking drama you're better off watching I am Sam.Genre: Biography, Crime & DramaDirector: Niels MuellerRated R
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