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The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004)

Cast: Sean Penn, Sean Penn, Don Cheadle, more...
Director: Niels Mueller, Niels Mueller
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Studio: New Line Home Video
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 95 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
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The true story of a man who, on February 22, 1974, was thwarted from an ambitious plan for political assassination provides the basis for this striking psychological drama. Sam Bicke (Sean Penn) is a salesman for an office-supply company whose life is slowly beginning to unravel. Bicke's 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 tire 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 mean 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. The Assassination of Richard Nixon was the first feature film from director Niels Mueller. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

He's Still Sam by talltale April 25, 2005 - 12:42 PM PDT
4 out of 7 members found this review helpful
Few films of the past year received such divergent notices as did THE ASSASINATION OF RICHARD NIXON. Critics and friends who'd seen the film had such strong feelings--sometimes quite the opposite from what I might have predicted on the basis of their usual judgments. Now that I've seen it, I'm a little flummoxed. Yes, it deals with our materialistic society and how the individual fits into this. But the individual here is such a creepy loser, what's the point?

The movie is consistently watchable and interesting, however, and Sean Penn (as does everyone else in the cast) comes though in fine form. Yet, by film's end, the accumulation of incident and character is so heavy and dark, as though nothing remotely positive could be allowed to intrude. And, since the filmmakers explain via the end credits that this is a fictionalized account, one begins to wonder at at the point of it all and just how much we viewers have been manipulated.

Had we been privy to even a few moments of Sam Bicke as a remotely normal human being, we might buy into how a man this troubled could land a job, wed a nice looking wife and help raise three kids with her, and keep a long-term friend like the intelligent and decent character played by Don Cheadle. But no, it's all downhill, with every step steeper and darker than the previous. This is a sad story, all right, and it's well executed. But damned if I can find anything worth learning from the experience.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.57)
77 Votes
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Cannes Film Festival & More - 2004
Official Selection, Certain Regards... and more. Here is a bit more information on the films screened at the Cannes. I have attempted to list all the films that were considered for an award as well as any special screenings.
100 Best English Language Films That I've Seen
Alphabetical Order: Best English Narratives in the World

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