Howard keeps the movie going, never getting mired in over-sentimentality or minor details. At no point does the plot drift.
The cast is perfect for their roles: Frank Langella as Richard Nixon, Michael Sheen as David Frost, Kevin Bacon as Nixon's Chief-of-Staff Jack Brennan, Sam Rockwell as James Reston jr and Oliver Platt as Bob Zelnick. All deliver outstanding performances.
A fascinating expose of one of the more notorious incidents in American history, and the interview that made a TV legend.
There isn't too much to say about a film like Frost /Nixon which can't be simplified to emphasising two key elements of the film: The efforts of Ron Howard and the efforts of the two lead actors.
Yes, Frost/Nixon is well shot and edited very timely, but the most important elements of the film aren't technical, they are practical. Frost/Nixon is a simple film on a small scale which clearly stays true to the stage play that inspired it by maintaining a very formal theatrical style as a film.
Peter Morgan's screenplay is an incredibly intelligent one, and thanks to Ron Howard it is never misused. Ron Howard's direction is clearly at some of his best in Frost/Nixon, because with the simplicity of the story is maintained by him and yet he never skimps on emphasising the most important dramatic aspects of the film. While touching upon the importance of who the titular characters are well enough, he manages to shift the focus of the film into what is happening now while also reminding us of why it is happening. Ron Howard ensures that the important focus of the characters is intelligent and educational to audiences. I know that I learned a lot about both characters from Frost/Nixon even though its focus is all on a small time period of their lives. And frankly, Ron Howard's incredible effort as the director who had to tie everything in the film together deserves nothing short of an Academy Award nomination for Best Director which he deservingly received. His direction makes the story stay more true to the real story than his previous film A Beautiful Mind did, so his sense of telling the true story has immensely increased over time.
The second aspect and clearly the most important of the film is the acting, predominantly the acting of the cast members portraying the titular figures David Frost and Richard Nixon.
Like I said before, I've seen Nixon and I've seen Dick. But I've never seen anybody portray Richard Nixon as finely as Frank Langella did in Frost/Nixon. In Frost/Nixon, Frank Langella captures every inch of Richard Nixon's natural physicality, manner of speaking and way of thinking. Richard Nixon has never felt more genuinely real on screen than he has in Frost/Nixon, because Frank Langella's true passion for the role and dedication to every minor detail brings Richard Nixon to life. Frank Langella truly makes a compelling and powerhouse effort which is slightly antagonistic as well as sympathetic. See, while the film characterises Richard Nixon as a villain, Frank Langella makes the intelligent decision to play himself off as a victim of sorts, much like the real Richard Nixon did. He captures the intelligent qualities of Richard Nixon, his strengths and his weaknesses, and so when he and David Frost clash heads in interviews he makes a compelling case to defend himself without ever showing an antagonistic nature towards Michael Sheen. His performance is undoubtedly the greatest of his career and the most effective of any man to have ever portrayed Richard Nixon so flawlessly, and so it is no surprise that an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor is waiting for him at the end of the road.
Michael Sheen gives a performance which most critics find to stand in the shadow of Frank Langella's excellent performance as Richard Nixon. But I had seen him portrayed enough times before to know that Frank Langella was spot on, in films such as Nixon and Dick or even in cartoons satirising the man for his work, such as The Simpsons or Futurama. Who I had never seen before was David Frost, and if not for Frost/Nixon I most likely would not have. But thanks to a marvellous performance by Michael Sheen which was snubbed by the Academy Awards, I have a great admiration for the man. David Frost was a talk-show host who changed history by cracking the Richard Nixon safe on a sophisticated and visually entertaining level which never crossed the line into interrogation but nearly borderlines as a cross-examination, and yet he still had the immense charm of an appealing talk show host who genuinely seems like a good person. And Ron Howard casts Michael Sheen in the role, an actor with the relentless confidence of Edward D. Wood Jr., the charm and line delivery of David Bowie, and above all a smile which is so captivating and friendly without being the slightest bit pompous or obnoxious that it makes him impossible to dislike. Michael Sheen's smile is one that I simply cannot compare to any other actor, as much as I try. His performance missed out on a deserved Academy Award nomination due to being overshadowed by Frank Langella, but there is no denying the talents of Michael Sheen in Frost/Nixon.
It's really interesting to see both Frank Langella and Michael Sheen go at each other because the chemistry they share is absolutely incredible in Frost/Nixon. Its so intense to watch them battle wits and just wait to see who will come out on top, and when they engage with each other is when the film is at its most undeniably effective and interesting. They create a lot of intensity by engaging with each other in the roles of David Frost and Richard Nixon, and it is so powerfully interesting that it leaves audiences wanting to witness the real interviews that happened between them to examine the realism in Frost/Nixon.
Matthew Macfadyen gives a confident supporting performance as well in which he shares a strong business-related chemistry with Michael Sheen which becomes the source of a lot of the story development.
Kevin Bacon and Toby Jones manage to make a memorable impact for working the intense mood of the story into the small elements of their performances so that the effect of what is going on is seen more clearly from a wider perspective. Rebecca Hall gives a strong supporting performance as well.
So Frost/Nixon is simple: It doesn't have a huge story but all the importance within it rests squarely on the truth behind it and the impact it had on the world, and it is directed excellently by Ron Howard and features the greatest performances that Michael Sheen and Frank Langella have ever given.
James Reston, Jr. (Sam Rockwell): Can I be Crack #1?
Bob Zelnick (Oliver Platt): Can I be Deep Crack?
Excellent!!! Another flawless film from Ron Howard. Frank Langella was absolutely wonderful as Nixon and probably gave one of the best performances in this film. Michael Sheen (Frost) was also very awesome as usual and was as charismatic as Mr. Langella. They had beautiful on-screen chemistry, played superbly off of each other. The rest of the cast was amazing as well: Kevin Bacon, Matthew Macfadyen, Sam Rockwell and Oliver Platt all were excellent. I have never been a politico and am too young to really grasp the magnitude of this subject but this film was absolutely fascinating nonetheless: beautifully acted and masterfully directed. Great, great film.