HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
Shinsengumi
IT Chapter Two
Rich Kids
Arena
Glory Guys, The
Serial Killer's Guide to Life, A
Lovers and Other Strangers
Shiny Shrimps, The
Good Woman is Hard to Find, A
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Doctor at Sea
Spear
Death Cheaters
Wild Rose
Streetwalkin'
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Devil's Playground, The
Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters
Hustlers
Mega Time Squad
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Souvenir, The
Birds of Passage
Ma
Woman at War
Happy as Lazzaro
Mickey's Christmas Carol
Marriage Story
Santa Claus is a Bastard
Star, The
Tom & Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale
Shadow
Christmas Carol, A
Legend of the Demon Cat
Adventures of Sinbad, The
Wounds
Love & Peace
   
 
Newest Articles
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
   
 
  Assassination of Richard Nixon, The Problems ProblemsBuy this film here.
Year: 2004
Director: Niels Mueller
Stars: Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Don Cheadle, Jack Thompson, Brad William Henke, Nick Searcy, Michael Wincott, Mykelti Williamson, April Grace, Lily Knight, Eileen Ryan
Genre: Drama
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: During February of 1974, Samuel Bicke (Sean Penn) arrived at Baltimore Washington Airport with a gun and big plans which he had outlined in audio tapes sent to composer Leonard Bernstein. Two years earlier, he was a man who had been separated from his wife and children for over a year, and even though he loved them deeply his waitress wife Marie (Naomi Watts) wasn't interested in getting back together with him. He had just started a new job as a salesman in an office furniture showroom, and was being groomed by his boss (Jack Thompson) as one of his top staff; Bicke was given a couple of self-help books and tapes to learn from. But he was finding the rat race more and more difficult to cope with, which is why he found himself at that airport on that day...

Written by Kevin Kennedy and the director Niels Mueller, this low key drama of quiet desperation turning to violence had the advantage of being about a small part of history that not many people remembered, or if they did had dismissed. This suits the main character: a resounding failure in life, whose defining act is now forgotten. The face of then-president Richard Nixon haunts Bicke from television sets wherever he goes, as if taunting him with his lack of success, standing for all that Bicke has grown to despise about the United States of America and its promise of self fulfilment through making money - especially as Bicke is losing the ability to make money.

Bicke sees injustice wherever he goes; as an example, his mechanic friend Bonny Simmons (Don Cheadle, quietly earnest) is his prospective business partner, but one of Bicke's preoccupations is that Bonny won't be allowed to succeed in business because he is a black man and he believes racism is endemic. He even goes to the lengths of visiting the local branch of the Black Panthers to offer his support and suggests that they admit white people into their ranks to swell their numbers (and to put forward a new name for them, the Zebras - who are black and white combined, understand?).

Penn is quite simply superb as the terminal loser Bicke, uncertain, sweaty, fighting back panic and the modern world which is by its very nature out to destroy him. When he visits his soon to be ex-wife and kids, his neediness is pathetic to see, particularly as it's obvious they are better off without him, and he begins waiting outside their house and dropping in on his wife at work in the hope she will pay loving attention to him. She doesn't - Watts adeptly plays it similarly worn down by life, but more in control. As all this is going on, Bicke awaits a letter from the bank confirming a loan he hopes to receive to start his dream of a tire company with Bonny, and we know from his first interview with the manager it's just not going to happen.

Shot in a despairing range of greys and beiges, The Assassination of Richard Nixon is a hard film to enjoy with all the squirming it induces, although there is plenty to admire, not only in Penn's performance. Thompson is aggressively excellent as the boss, the early scene where he plays an intimidating trick on Bicke to secure a sale makes it clear that as a salesman Bicke is out of his depth, and a short sequence with the great Michael Wincott as the brother Bicke has stolen from illuminates how far the man has fallen in stature. It's a combination of being his own worst enemy and the dog eat dog world he inhabits that drives him to his biggest mistake, and the audio tapes he makes sound uncharacteristically forthright as if this is his true mission in life. Thought provoking, if a little redundant after the first half, the film's desperate tone stays in the mind. Music by Steven M. Stern.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 4847 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: