Wow, I’m blown away by the performance Frank Langella gives in Frost/Nixon. To see what he does with his expression in a close-up, no dialogue, expressing all the guilt, remorse, pride, and chagrin of a man’s agonizing mistakes brought tears to my eyes. Go see it; even if you have no interest in history and couldn’t care less about Tricky Dick; it’s a well-crafted drama and stellar script. And it might stimulate a conversation about power, how it corrupts, and whether the man makes history, or history makes the man, like Dearest and I have just had.
I’m of the “history makes the man” school, which I learned in anthropology classes, where a culture is considered as a river in which individuals rise to the top and then sink back down, but the river flows on. The times call up someone from the depths of the river, then drown him or her again. Something like that.
For example, the Vietnam War was fought under three U.S. presidents, Kennedy and Johnson the Democrats, and Nixon the Republican. It was a proxy war between the two diametrically opposed theories of governance and economics, communism vs. capitalism. Yes, the way it was conducted, where the bombs fell, was directed by Nixon and Kissinger in a chess game with Russia and China, but in the end, no single decision or even string of decisions mattered; the gigantic sumo wrestling going on around the globe waged on. Mothers raised their babies. Farmers planted crops. And writers wrote.
Frost/Nixon does show what the will of one person can accomplish in the media, of course, and it’s a grand performance of individual chutzpah for the Frost character. It exemplifies what happens in the creation of any interview or creative work, where one person has to carry the idea forward, perhaps not even having a clear idea where it will end up – such as with this 365 project.