When Brian Clough (Michael Sheen) takes over as manager of the Leeds United football club in 1974, he seems less interested in preparing them to play and more focused on punishing the team for the sins of its previous coach, his personal bête noire, Don Revie (Colm Meaney).
Maybe it’s a side-effect of just watching The Fighter, but the title Frost/Nixon makes this film sound more like a prize fight. The comparison is not wholly inappropriate. David Frost (Michael Sheen) was a media bantamweight trying to move up in class while Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) was a political heavyweight looking for an easy tune-up for his eventual rehabilitation from the Watergate scandal.
The original TRON was most impressive as a demonstration of technology that was, for the most part, still lingering just over the horizon. It was more of a demo reel with a plot, fondly remembered by the geeks who were wowed by its then-revolutionary visuals and couldn’t be bothered by the lack of an engaging story.
The Queen is the story of the near-eternal struggle between tradition and modernity. The bare plot outline of Stephen Frears‘s thoughtful portrait of Great Britain in the throes of that struggle probably does not excite the casual moviegoer, but this quietly engrossing drama is anything but dull or sedate.
When you stand before God, you cannot say, “But I was told by others to do thus,” or that virtue was not convenient at the time. This will not suffice.
When I reviewed the theatrical cut of Ridley Scott’s Crusade-era epic Kingdom of Heaven, I made note that the film was long on spectacle and short on story and compelling characters. I was not in the minority in that opinion either. Fox, in order to bring the film down to a more commercial running time, pressured director Ridley Scott to cut it, emasculating the story in the process.
At the time, there was already work being done on this director’s cut, and I hoped that this version would restore the depth and substance that the theatrical version lacked. I am now pleased to report that this is exactly the case. This new, 196-minute version restores a number of scenes, sub-plots and entire characters that answer my objections and give this film a level of resonance worthy of the images on screen.
When I first saw the previews of Kingdom of Heaven, having not heard of the film before that, my first reaction was, “Wow, somebody’s seen Gladiator a few too many times.” Much about the scenes in the trailer seemed like a conscious attempt to ape Ridley Scott‘s sword-and-sandals epic. It wasn’t until I reached the end of the trailer that I realized this was also a Ridley Scott film.