The Assassination of Richard Nixon Reviews

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Time Out
November 16, 2011
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Time Out
June 24, 2006
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AV Club
September 26, 2005
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
February 11, 2005
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
February 4, 2005
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
February 4, 2005
The idea that assassins are products of their times is intriguing, but The Assassination of Richard Nixon is betrayed by its ambitions and pretensions.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
January 21, 2005
A well-made if relatively uninvolved character study with nothing noteworthy to say.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
January 21, 2005
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
January 21, 2005
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.
| Original Score: C+
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Michael Booth
Denver Post
January 21, 2005
The always remarkable Penn infuses Sam Bicke with more originality than the plot allowed. Mueller took a real-life incident now lost in the history books and re-created a sympathetic back story for Bicke.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
January 21, 2005
By the time Bicke crosses the line from passive sad sack to murderer, The Assassination of Richard Nixon has made an eloquent case for explaining the seemingly unexplainable. But the movie doesn't make you care.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
January 21, 2005
The movie is at times startling in its impact.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
January 21, 2005
The movie really misses something by ignoring poor Officer Ramsburg, and also the other cop who intervened. I could see how that movie would work: It could cross-cut dynamically between the mentally ill man and the two officers.
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
January 20, 2005
The problem is, Assassination just makes you think of other, better films that have tackled similar subjects.
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 20, 2005
Has neither the freaky electricity of Taxi Driver nor the gloomy resonance of Death of a Salesman.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
January 20, 2005
In a bravura performance, Sean Penn makes this whiny schlemiel a character of such piercing pathos that Sam will rattle around in your brain for weeks.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
January 20, 2005
This ranks as another excellent performance from Penn.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Christy Lemire
Journal News (Westchester, NY)
January 15, 2005
Full Review | Original Score: C
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Logan Hill
New York Magazine/Vulture
January 15, 2005
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 14, 2005
This is a character study of a marginal man who goes off the rails, and Penn is brilliant at evoking how daily life itself is filled, for Bicke, with countless challenges to his rigid sense of right and wrong.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
January 14, 2005
Penn's performance seems to give Mueller's filmmaking an exquisite purpose.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
January 13, 2005
Sam would be a cliché in the hands of many actors. But Mr. Penn, not surprisingly, turns him into a vivid and very specific character, familiar not just from the movies but any number of down-and-out corners of real life.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
January 13, 2005
Maybe Mueller, who wrote Tadpole and has been nursing this project for five years, wasn't quite ready to direct it.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
January 7, 2005
A faithful portrait of a period in American social history and a character study of a man struggling to make sense of his life, using conflicting American myths as his guide.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
January 6, 2005
This riveting film qualifies as the anti-crowd-pleaser -- but Penn makes it unthinkable to turn away.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
January 5, 2005
Penn's performance is really a profound study of a particular type of loner that no one has pegged better: the sociopathic putz.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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David Chute
L.A. Weekly
December 30, 2004
This man without qualities is a concept rather than a man, an ambitious rich actor's condescending fantasy of a colorless suburban schmo.
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Mike Clark
USA Today
December 30, 2004
Even if audiences can get by the tasteless shock title, it's tough to figure who will ever watch this movie -- even when it's on cable.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 30, 2004
Penn and the historical context will generate some interest, but the film's ultimate reception is likely to be as chilly as the month in which it receives its theatrical release (December 2004).
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Jan Stuart
Newsday
December 30, 2004
The Assassination of Richard Nixon is a triumph for its star and the writers, who make us cringe with empathy for a man who taps into the latent loser in all of us.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
December 30, 2004
There's little here to make his movie truly dramatic, or even different from those that have gone before.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
December 30, 2004
Because there's no discernible point to this film about one man's plan to 'incinerate Dick Nixon,' it has only craft and technique to recommend it.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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V.A. Musetto
New York Post
December 30, 2004
Features Sean Penn in a mesmerizing portrayal.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Jami Bernard
New York Daily News
December 30, 2004
A slight movie and a major downer.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
December 30, 2004
Dark and eerily resonant, Niels Mueller's The Assassination of Richard Nixon crawls under your skin and amps up the agitation until you want to jump out of it.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
December 28, 2004
Moody, pretentious, but potent.
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
December 27, 2004
The highest possible thumbs up for Penn and a big thumbs up as well for first-time director Niels Mueller.
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
December 23, 2004
I find that I much prefer Mr. Penn as the not-so-nice cynic in Anthony Drazan's Hurlyburly (1998) or Clint Eastwood's Mystic River (2003) to his sincere, idealistic fool here.
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Todd McCarthy
Variety
June 1, 2004
Fails to stir much involvement or sympathy.
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Ray Bennett
Hollywood Reporter
May 18, 2004
First-time director Niels Mueller and his co-screenwriter Kevin Kennedy depict Sam's disintegration expertly and they have fashioned a well-made picture with much to like.