Stone’s pageant for a powerful and conflicted man, much like his later W (2008), casts a lucid, if not quite forgiving, eye toward the high-pressure work of the presidency during times of war, an occupation represented here as a faintly hallucinatory procession of ticking-clock conversations in shadowy rooms hermetically sealed from the outside world.
If we recognize that Disney has effectively become the federal government, the rest of the scenario falls into place. Just as Stalin’s flunkies had to praise the official “masterpieces” of Stalinist art no matter how inert or uninventive they were, Nixon’s producers… have guaranteed that media savants are already describing Stone’s Nixon as a figure of Shakespearean proportions rather than the poorly cast, two-dimensional numskull decked out with a few grade-Z horror-movie traits that he is.
Hyper editing that borders on surreal. Takes the kinetic, dense-with-information-that-constantly-flies-at-your-face style of JFK to a whole new level. The movie effectively puts you in Nixon's paranoid mind for 3.5 hours, and it flies by. My personal favorite of Stone's. It haunts me.
Prospero drifts through his kingdom of shadows. The narrative here is an accumulation of moments investigated by the title character as he sits alone in the Oval Office, examining the library of tapes that will inevitably lead to his downfall. Stone's experiments with 'the form' capture the psychology of the character, deconstructing the reality of his situation through a dizzying array of styles and techniques.
Hopkins is a monster. He does a truly larger than life performance, even if the megalomaniacal and mythomaniac Oliver Stone tries to pass his own paranoia to the Nixon character, Hopkins succeeds in retaining not only the madness but the candor and humanity only seen and heard from a Shakespeare monarch. Overlong and hallucinatory but dense and ultimately compelling.
After viewing this a second time today, I have no question that this is another Stone masterwork, second only to his earlier political thriller JFK. The hit-and-miss nature of Stone's work can be maddening, but at his best - and especially when working with Robert Richardson - he can be a brilliant filmmaker. Stone makes the Nixon story Shakespearean and the editing/cinematography are nothing short of spectacular.
Modern day prosthetics would have helped Hopkin's performance immensely. He has the mannerisms, the expressions, the nuances, but lacks the familiarity. Stone's Nixon portrait could've also been more incisive. Technically speaking, this is a wonder to watch-- the archival footage, the rigor of the editing, Richardson's gorgeous photography. No one crafts a film like Stone.
A sprawling, paranoid epic of whispered conversations and men in ugly suits standing at oddly tilted angles, beautifully filmed by Richardson. Manages to feel both urgent and oppressively endless, like a giant summer thunderstorm shot through with sudden changes in film stock and sprinkles of hamfisted symbolism like flashes of distant lightning. By the end, I was mostly glad I don't live in Stone's White House.
When you remove the filmmaker from the film (which is important in an Oliver Stone production), you get a story about a great human leader with greatly human flaws. Robert Richardson reached his pinnacle as a cinematographer in this perfect balance of experimental camera and attentive narrative.
Une étude approfondie du "cas Nixon", mais la réalisation d'Oliver Stone déçoit souvent. Certains partis-pris esthétiques qui convenaient à "Tueurs nés" s'avèrent ici inutiles et lourds. Un semi-échec malgré tout intéressant... www.cinefiches.com