2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
When is a failure not a failure?,
This review is from: The Assassination Of Richard Nixon [DVD] (DVD)
When it is this film, of course!
This film is anything but a failure. It is a stunning portrayal of Sam Byck, who tried to, obviously, kill Richard Nixon. His pitiful attempt was easily stopped by the police in a showdown at an airport, but his motives were unknown. This film tries to fill in the gaps...
Firstly, Sean Penn. Amazing in this role, he keeps surprising with his versatility. Just when you think you have Penn susses, he pulls a new acting direction out of his pocket. Here he plays Sam as a hypocrite, aloof, awkward, and a rebel aginst the system.
It's riveting to watch this one man blame everybody but himself. He thinks the system is lying,and wants to stand out. Some of the situations he gets himself into are squirm inducing. You can see he's being awkward and embarrassing but he doesn't see himself.
The disintegration of his family and work life, and his outspoken views lead him to one conclusion, he must kill the person he feels is responsible.
This is a stunning drama, but even so, a few things in the film don't quite make it a classic. The ending is slightly drawn out. It's a short film as it is, but the film's climax seems to take a long time coming. You know what's going to happen, so does the character, but the director seems to just pad the ending out.
Also, Sam's family, including an under-appreciated Noami Watts, is an interesting piece to the story, but they virtually dissappear from the film half way through. Another storyline abandoned, is when Sam wants to help the Black Panther political group. It's picked up, but never truly explored or concluded.
Still, this film is hard to take your eyes off the screen. It's a brilliant portrayal, filmed mostly handheld, giving it an intimate feeling.
The behind the scenes documentary is too short to give anything worthy, but the small article written on the real Sam Byck is very interesting.