- Actors: Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Don Cheadle, Jack Thompson, Brad William Henke
- Directors: Niels Muller
- Producers: Alfonso Cuarón, Jorge Vergara
- Format: PAL
- Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: 15
- Studio: Metrodome
- DVD Release Date: 5 Sept. 2005
- Run Time: 95 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B0009WL8Y6
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,799 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
The Assassination Of Richard Nixon [DVD]
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Psychological drama based on a true story. Sam Bicke (Sean Penn) is a salesman for an office-supply company whose life is slowly beginning to unravel. His job is going nowhere, his wife, Marie (Naomi Watts), has left him, and his boss (Jack Thompson) keeps pushing self-help books on him that make a mockery of his state of mind. One of Bicke's few friends is Bonny Simmons (Don Cheadle), an auto mechanic, and together they come up with an idea for a tyre shop on wheels. While neither has the money to finance the project, Bicke has learned of a program for small-business loans instituted by President Richard Nixon, which he's certain will come through for him. But Bicke is denied his loan, which dovetails with his increasing suspicion of the president's Vietnam policies and a sudden interest in the 'by any means necessary' political activism of the Black Panther Party. Desperate to seem important in some way, Bicke becomes increasingly obsessed with the duplicity of Richard Nixon, until he chooses to take it upon himself to stop the president once and for all.
In The Assasination of Richard Nixon, Sean Penn is Samuel Bicke, whose life, circa 1974, has become unbearable. His wife (Naomi Watts) has left him, his dead-end sales job is killing him--even his best friend (Don Cheadle) has had enough. Bicke's a loser, but at least he's an honest one. Nixon, the epitome of dishonesty, becomes the locus of his rage, so Bicke devises a plan to eliminate him. Paul Schrader claims he finished writing Taxi Driver before the real-life Byck attempted to assassinate the president. Maybe so, but the similarities are hard to ignore (and "Bickle" sounds a lot like "Byck"). Niels Mueller (Tadpole) doesn't disguise the fact that his debut was inspired by the guy. If The Assassination of Richard Nixon doesn't hit Taxi Driver's (admittedly lofty) heights, it's still a discomfiting look at a man determined to leave his mark on the world, only to become a footnote. --Kathleen C. Fennessy, Amazon.com
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Top Customer Reviews
By the time the film reaches its bloody climax, you'll be hard pressed to purse your lips to whistle "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life." This is a relentless look at hope destroyed by delusion and the fallacy of the American Dream.
Penn plays Sam Bicke, a man who does not sit easy in his own skin. A salesman who does not like telling lies, when his boss suggests that Richard M Nixon is the "worlds greatest Salesman" because he won the Presidency twice on the false premises of pulling out of Vietnam, Bicke is quick to begin transferring his personal issues onto the President. Slowly, this builds to the films' terrible denouement.
As we are introduced to Bicke, we shortly learn that his marriage is all but over. His new job as a salesman in an office furniture store gives him a new surge of optimism. Filled with this new hope he tentatively attempts reconciliation with his estranged wife (Naomi Watts). He's also inspired to push hard at his idea for his own business, believing this will really be the key to his personal salvation. Caught up in his enthusiasm is his best friend (played by Don Cheadle), in turns bemused, exasperated and concerned by his friends sullen rages at 'the system.'
But then, one failure sparks another. Bicke's failure to reach his wife leads to divorce, and the resulting embittered angry state leads to an outburst that gets him fired.Read more ›
The combination of an excellent story and a stunning performance from Penn make this compelling viewing, Penn must surely be one of the finest actors of his generation.The film is quite reminiscent of 'Taxi Driver', Samuel and Travis Bickle have a lot in common, ordinary hard working Americans constantly being put down by the establishment and those in power.
Powerful, taught and a dynamite performance from Penn.
Of course this character Sam, played by Sean Penn, is not able to deal with the cards life dealt him. He starts to spiral out of control and seems to focus all his rage on President Nixon, who he plans to assassinate. Even with all this, we do not see Sam as a bad man. Just a man who is confused and caught up in a world he does not understand and is not able to control.
Sean Penn does a wonderful job of acting in this film. This film was perfect for when it was released and perhaps we are reaching that type of climate in the USA again. He should have won an Academy Award for this part. Worth seeing for Mr. Penn's acting alone.
What it's not about is the assassination of Richard Nixon. I feel the title is not a sensible one - like Sam's slug-like boss (Jack Thompson), it's selling a different product. Do not expect a Jack Ryan-esque heroic espionage thriller. This is, after all, the grimy Land of the Free of 1974, fed on a diet of Dickie Nixon promises and apocalyptic TV visions from Vietnam. Think Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation or Scorsese's Taxi Driver for its mood. But while those films may have lacked emotional warmth, The Assassination of Richard Nixon takes our anti-hero's plight almost into the realm of sentimentality. His scenes with his wife, Marie (Naomi Watts, with whom he memorably shared the screen in the previous year's 21 Grams), are an astonishing portrayal of the agonisingly pitiful.
What seems at once like an exhilarating anti-capitalist diatribe turns into something far more moving: the fable of a lonely man. ("You miss me, don't you?" and "You love me, don't you?" he asks his ex-wife's dog - two things he cannot ask his ex-wife.) But also, fascinatingly, in the final reel Bicke is revealed to be not only deeply alone but deeply unhinged. When his brother (Michael Wincott - an excellent cameo) confronts him about a theft, Sam is forced to confront himself.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Underestimated and rarely discussed film. If you work in any aspect of the sales industry, you will particularly appreciate it. And Sean Penn is one of the very best actors.Published 11 months ago by Mr. S Bailey
My favourite actor of all time and just brilliant in this DVD in perfect working order service and value for money just excellent a well deserved 5*Published 19 months ago by John M Reid
One of the worst films ever. Slow - went nowhere - totally boring - kept waiting for it too liven up thinking 'no film can stay this bad' how wrong I was. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Noddie
I really enjoyed this film, Sean Penn does an excellent job in my opinion. Well worth watchingPublished 21 months ago by DJT
One of the greatest performances ever.
This film is all about this central performance. But it's not indulgent in a bad way. Read more