Picks and Pans Review: Nixon
Anthony Hopkins, Joan Allen
What other American leader in this century has been such a confusing amalgam of brilliance and neurosis as Richard Nixon? Our 37th President walked a high wire between the tragic and the comic and often tumbled down into the pathetic.
It comes as a real disappointment, then, that Oliver Stone—whose treatment of history usually has the cheap sizzle of meat patties in hot grease—should make a Nixon so vague. The director spends over 3 hours chopping Nixon's 81 years into a blur of real and fake newsreel footage and surreal effects—history as writ by the MTV art department. But Nixon, whoever he was, is gone.
Stone tried various makeups on Hopkins but settled simply for dyed hair, dark contacts and capped teeth. It would have been a mistake to glue too many fake knickknacks to Hopkins' square, plain-featured head—his technique is so vigorously direct. He practically saws into the part. The drawback is that he looks, acts and sounds like Pat Hingle, a fine character actor who was never President. (R)
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