Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Joan Allen, Ed Harris, Bob Hoskins, Paul Sorvino
Extras: Commentary Tracks, Documentary, Featurette, Deleted Scenes, Trailer
Oliver Stone has a hand for making political history popular despite the fact that his films are typically shrouded in controversy and questioned on their accuracy. Regardless of what really happened, "JFK," for example, is certainly the most prolific examination of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the most complete one to date still. As a result expectations are high when you approach a film like "Nixon" in which the director tries to tell the story of the American president who got tangled up in his own web of lies which eventually brought him down.
Portrayed by Anthony Hopkins in a glorious performance, Richard Nixon was JFK's most dangerous opponent and if it hadn't been for JFK's assassination in Dallas, who knows if he would ever have had a shot at the presidency. And that's just one of the trains of thought the film examines as the film sheds a light on Nixon while he was a senator, running against Kennedy, all the way to his resignation in 1974.
While I found the premise extremely interesting I have to admit that "Nixon" disappoints somewhat as a film. It is too incoherent, simply creating "moments" rather than a full story. More than one there are sudden jumps in time of many months or even years between the events depicted in the film – without explanation. The flashbacks also pull the viewer out of the experience and overall, the story of Richard Nixon is maybe really not as exciting as it may sound on paper. He had a really dull personality and suffered from serious paranoia. Not unlike our current president Bush with his toddler-level-polemics, Richard Nixon should never have been president of the United States. He was incapable of seeing the bigger picture, he was unable to separate political enemies from the paranoid imagery in his mind and he was utterly incapable of leading people, making them believe in him and receiving their support. Richard Nixon was a failure who was not able to live up to his mandate and wasted his presidency fighting his own demons instead of the country's. Sounds familiar? I bet it does.
Having said all that, it is of course hard to capture all that in a movie and all things considered, "Nixon" is generally not a bad film. It is simply not as riveting as "JFK" was and maybe it isn't quite as concise either. I am sure many people will find it hard to follow what exactly went on during his presidency and who did what and why.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment has created a wonderful 1080p transfer for this Blu-Ray Disc that holds incredible detail and renders a finely delineated image. Textures are clear and never washed out and display even the most miniscule level of detail. Accurate colors are also presented in this transfer with vibrant hues and natural-looking skin tones. Edges and definition are very good, rendering an image that is bold and sharp without ever seeming exaggerated. Black levels are rock solid, giving the image strong visual depth with good shadows.
The audio on the disc is presented as an uncompressed 5.1 PCM track, as well as a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, supplemented by subtitles in English, French and Spanish. The audio is clear and absolutely clean, without the slightest defects or problems. Frequency response is wide rendering voluminous basses and crystal clear high ends. No distortion mars the presentation either while dialogues are always understandable and perfectly balanced in the overall mix.
A number of bonus materials complement the release, such as two separate audio commentaries by director Oliver Stone in which he goes over pretty much everything relating to this film.
Also included are Deleted Scenes with an introduction by the director as well as the "Charlie Rose Interviews Oliver Stone" segment found on a previous DVD release already, as well as the new documentary "Beyond Nixon."
"Nixon" is a solid high def release with a great presentation. The film may be a bit murky and convoluted but overall for fans this is definitely a package to get.