Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Assassination of Richard Nixon

Day 334 - 11/30/09 - Movie #334

BEFORE: From the kidnapping of a fictional president to the attempted killing of a real one... This will kick off 3 nights of Nixon-related programming. At the start of the year, I wouldn't have imagined that as a possibility.

THE PLOT: Based on real life events, set in 1974 and centers on a businessman who decides to take extreme measures to achieve his American dream.

AFTER: Sean Penn plays Sam Bicke, a down-on-his-luck furniture salesman who is separated from his wife, treated poorly at work, and who can't seem to get his business schemes moving. There wasn't much of a connection to Nixon here, other than the fact that Bicke ends up blaming Nixon for his personal problems, and concocting a grand assassination plot. But like everything else in the man's life, it's poorly planned and very problematic.

Naomi Watts was criminally under-used as Bicke's soon-to-be ex-wife. I suppose it's interesting to watch Penn play a man who's slowly going off the rails - he records audio tapes addressed to composer Leonard Bernstein regarding the state of the world - but there wasn't much connection to the political arena, and not much point overall. Supporting work by Don Cheadle as Bicke's mechanic friend, and Mykelti Williamson as one of the Black Panthers.

RATING: 4 out of 10

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