It also would have been nice to have more depth re the issues that the film addresses, but I guess with a run-time of already 190min, that would've turned this film into a mini-series. For example, some of the more controversial issues such as the Kent State shootings, the Cambodia campaign, as well as the tapes themselves are addressed in a manner that assumes the viewer is already well informed of the events, hence tackles them mainly from Nixon's brief reactions to them. I guess a little more action at the expense of drama would have been more to my liking. Regardless, this was a dramatic biopic, so that criticism is of little regard to Stone's intentions.
Overall, it's a very good movie, but I would still suggest that novice viewers watch some of the YouTube documentaries on Nixon if they're looking for a fuller picture of dismayed president.
Saw this on 22/1/16
Mesmerizing performance from Anthony Hopkins, Oliver Stone's trademark visual structure and a first hour and half of strong solid drama cannot make Nixon an enjoyable film. It's a long tedious and often extremely boring film that is too political and lacking the hyperkinetic feel of stone's largely successful political thriller JFK. The film works as a good character study of a mad man, someone like a Shakespearean tragic hero, more like Othello than Macbeth or Hamlet. Joan Allen gives a considerably appreciable performance considering the run time that she has been provided with. Had Nixon been a bit short and more fast paced, it would have been better and it's politics can only be understood clearly by those who have some good prior knowledge of it all. One sad thing is that, towards the end, the film solely concentrates on Nixon's inner demons that it so easily forgets to involve the story of what all is happening during that time.
"Nixon" is a movie that is very loosely based on his live. For the most part, it is a very fictional story with some truths or at least, Stone (Who also co-wrote the script) makes "Nixon" gets to make interesting and it shows fragments of him as a man. It reminded me of his later film "W." at times. But since "Nixon" was made in the mid 1990's. Stone's visual style with his camera work comes close to "JFK" and even "Natural Born Killers" at times. Besides Hopkins' terrific and sometimes over the top Oscar nominated performance. There is some excellent supporting performances here from Joan Allen in a Oscar nominated role as his long suffering supportive wife, James Woods as H.R. Haldeman, unrecongizable Paul Sorvino as Henry Kissinger (The make-up work on the actor is terrific), Powers Boothe as Alexander Haig, Ed Harris as E. Edward Hunt and others cast members. Since the movie has plenty of familiar faces, how matter how small or big, their supporting roles are...most of them have memorable roles in it.
"Nixon" is an ambitious film, at times, it can be a difficult movie to follow if you know nothing about these real-life characters that the actors are playing in it. It is one of those movies, that you have to pay attention to dialogue and detail. "Nixon" is a extremely long film, it might bore some viewers to death but if you get into, it can be an fascinating picture. Sometimes the plot can be all over the place and at times, the film's tone changes quite often. The scènes in the film can be Political Satire to Darkly Funny to Drama to Thriller. In Stone's film, it wants to be all and somehow it works.
It was an box office bomb, back in 1995. Which it was the slow decline of Stone's movies after that (Although "Nixon" and his next film "U-Turn" do have cult followings). The movie also got two Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay that it was shared with Stone and two screenwriters:Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson. Also John Williams' beautiful, sometimes eerie music score got an Oscar nomination as well.
I am glad, i finally seen "Nixon" after all these years. Would i revisit this again ? Sure, i would for the bigger than lifes performances in it, Stone's visual style and Williams' fantastic score in it. Since i never seen the original theatrical cut, the Blu-ray is the Director's Cut, which over 20 minutes of additional footage were added. I am not sure, what was added back to Stone's Director Cut but i heard Sam Waterson's scene as the CIA director Richard Helms was added back to Stone's Director's Cut.
Overall "Nixon" does have moments of greatness but at the end, like Stone's later film "W.", we don't know much of "Nixon" expect just glimpse of it, especially in his personal life. Stone is having fun with the real-life characters in it and sometimes putting them in very absurd but intriguing situations for better or worse. One of the highlights of "Nixon" that Stone goes for the innovative techniques with this style, especially mixing film stocks. For the most part, "Nixon" feels like a documentary but done in a highly artistic expression and being outrageous at the same time. In a way, it feels that Stone didn't want to end the movie, he wanted to show more. Blu-ray includes commentaries tracks, an documentary, vintage featurette with director Stone being interviewed by Charlie Rose, deleted scènes with introduction by the director and the original theatrical trailer.
"Nixon" is a fascinating and longish picture that won't appeal to some tastes but if you get into the story and the characters, you might have yourself being entertained by the whole thing in this messy but always intriguing picture.