Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Movie Review: "The Assassination of Richard Nixon" (2004).

The film's title is improbable but memorable. Even though the movie is based on true events, we know that its title obviously lacks historicity.

Perhaps a more accurate name would have been the assassination of the would-be assassin of Richard Nixon--or, even more accurately, the self-immolation of the would-be assassin.

Sean Penn plays Samuel Bicke, a furniture salesman whose life of quiet desperation becomes progressively more desperate and less quiet. Parallels can be drawn to Robert DiNero and Martin Scorcese's "Taxi Driver", especially with the transference of rage onto a political figure.

Penn effectively draws the viewer into his slow descent into despair, depression and delusion. The acting is a masterful work of art. Moreover, the story is a compelling case study of the fraying of one's American dream--and the misdirected anger engendered by it. The movie envelopes this character study with an entertaining miasma of early 1970s culture.

On the strength of Penn's masterwork, "Assassination" receives a "B+".

The movie is out on DVD.